January 2023 Market Update
Adam Bergman Joins Davenport & Co.’s Investment Policy Committee
We are delighted to announce Adam Bergman, Senior Vice President and Research Analyst, has joined Davenport Asset Management’s Investment Policy Committee (IPC). We look forward to him making a meaningful contribution to our process.
Click below to read the full press release.
New Year’s Thoughts
As we enter 2023, inflation and Fed policy are still front and center. But, the pace of rate hikes is slowing and we believe we are closer to the end than the beginning of this tightening cycle. Read on for our full year-end stock market update.
Navigating an Unsettled Yield Curve
The treasury yield curve has not seen this level of volatility in several decades creating uncharted territory for many bond investors. Fortunately, the Davenport Asset Management Fixed Income team has spent years navigating challenging rate environments mitigating loss and reliably preserving principal and providing income. Watch as Kevin Hopkins, Chris Kelley, and Will Cleland discuss how 2022 has unfolded and their preview for what 2023 has in store.
Click below to watch the recorded Zoom presentation.
International Equities Are Down, but are They Out?
The old saying, “When the US sneezes, the world catches a cold.” is on the minds of many investors today as the current global environment has left many in doubt about what the future holds. Watch as Davenport Asset Management’s Geoff Sulanke chats with Ray Vars of Harding Loevner to discuss the current international market and where Harding Loevner sees value today.
Click below to watch the recorded Zoom presentation.
A Core Portfolio Q & A
Davenport Asset Management’s Core Portfolio, launched in 1984, was our first managed money strategy. Modeled after our very own profit sharing plan, the portfolio was built on the notion of investing alongside our clients. Core invests in high-quality large cap companies that can deliver competitive and durable returns for investors. We recently sat down with Investment Policy Committee Chair, George Smith, to discuss the Core Portfolio’s mission.
Could It Almost Be Time to Buy?
The market has been rough this year, but could it almost be time to buy? Historically, calendar years with market declines of more than 10% have typically been followed by strong 1 and 3 year returns.
Click below to see our breakdown of the historical market data.
How We Manage Risk
In Davenport’s small and mid-cap mutual funds, we believe in holding a few dozen stocks that we know really well. In our view, this method provides better performance and risk management than holding hundreds or even thousands of names that aren’t necessarily contributing to your goals in a comparable index fund. And we’ve got the track record to prove it.
Watch the video below to learn how less is more in our Small Cap Focus and Equity Opportunities Funds.
We doubt many investors will be very upset about waving goodbye to 2022. Indeed, it was a tough year for stocks as evidenced by declines of 18.1% and 20.4%, respectively, for the S&P 500® Index and Russell 2000® Index. The NASDAQ® Composite was even worse with a 32.5% swoon, and the top four technology companies (Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet and Amazon) lost roughly $3 trillion of value. Of note, this was the worst year for the major indices since 2008. Was all this to be expected after an impressive multi-year run? Some moderation certainly seemed warranted, but it was painful nonetheless.
Market action was wild in the third quarter, which turned out to be a tale of two halves. We saw an impressive rally from July through mid-August that coincided with hopes of the Federal Reserve backing off restrictive monetary policy. Then, we witnessed a sharp reversal as discouraging inflation data prompted the Fed to become even more resolute in its battle against rising prices. Ultimately, stocks declined for the quarter and returned to their June lows. The S&P 500® Index finished the period down 4.9% and the Russell 2000® Index declined 2.2%. Year-to-date, the S&P and Russell finished September down 23.9% and 25.1%, respectively.
Stocks were under significant pressure in the second quarter and officially entered bear market territory. The S&P 500® Index and Russell 2000® Index declined 16.1% and 17.2%, respectively, during the quarter and finished the period down 20.0% and 23.4% year-to-date. This is the S&P’s worst first half since 1970. Market conditions are clearly very different from a year or two ago, when risk taking was rampant and asset values were propped up by rock-bottom interest rates and aggressive economic stimulus spawned by the pandemic. Now, we are on the back side of said stimulus and dealing with the challenging cocktail of rampant inflation, higher interest rates and slowing growth.
The first quarter brought investors yet another curve ball with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This sent shockwaves through global markets and added to already notable inflation pressures, while also casting a new light on international investing. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates as policymakers began to reign in monetary stimulus. Markets ultimately proved more resilient than one might expect given these circumstances, with energy and commodity-related stocks leading the way. While the S&P 500® Index and Russell 2000® Index were down 12% and 14% at one point during the quarter, they finished down 4.6% and 7.5%, respectively. It’s worth noting, however, that the major indices belie underlying weakness in the market. Many stocks, especially in riskier corners of the market, have experienced steep declines.
Another year is in the books and what a wild year it was. Indeed, 2021 was quite an encore for 2020. We had a riot at the Capitol, vaccine introduction, economic “re-opening”, meme stock rally, the SPAC craze, supply chain snarls, widespread inflationary pressures, the Delta variant and more recently the Omicron variant. Many, including us, thought it would be difficult for investors’ risk appetites to sustain levels reached in late 2020. While some speculative pockets of the market weakened, there was no broad-based let down and we saw surprising gains powered by improved economic growth, accommodative policy and abundant liquidity. The S&P 500® Index finished the year up a stunning 28.7% while the Russell 2000® Index advanced 14.8%. Our equity portfolios also enjoyed solid gains for the year.
We are three-quarters of the way through 2021, and stocks are holding onto meaningful gains. As of September 30, the S&P 500® Index was up 15.9% year-to-date while the Russell 2000® Index had gained 12.4%. The third quarter itself was a bit more subdued, with the S&P up 0.6% and Russell down 4.4%. We were pleased to see solid relative performance from our portfolios as market conditions became more tumultuous. Stocks initially powered through headwinds associated with the Delta variant, but weakened late in the quarter alongside fears surrounding supply chain disruptions, waning economic stimulus and rising interest rates. In fact, the S&P was down 4.7% for the month of September. We think such a breather may be healthy given the torrid pace of gains through August, when the S&P seemed on pace for a record number of new highs in a year.
Equity markets remained strong in the second quarter with the S&P 500® Index and the Russell 2000® Index gaining 8.6% and 4.3%, respectively. Year-to-date, the S&P and Russell finished the quarter up 15.3% and 17.5%, respectively. Most Americans are vaccinated, the economic recovery from COVID has been in full swing and corporate earnings have generally exceeded expectations. More cyclical and value-oriented sectors such as energy and financials have been very strong; however, we’ve seen concurrent strength in durable growth sectors such as technology and communication services. It seems investors have migrated from stay-at-home plays to reopening plays to now buying everything.
Equity markets continued their remarkable run in the first quarter as risk taking was in full swing. The S&P 500® Index and Russell 2000® Index gained 6.2% and 12.7%, respectively. It’s hard to fathom how far we’ve come since early last year when COVID fears gripped the globe, businesses were shutting down and markets were in turmoil. Today, the narrative is markedly different as we are making significant vaccination progress, economies are re-opening and equity markets are near all-time highs.
Equity markets capped off a bizarre and turbulent year with a stunning fourth quarter rally. The S&P 500® Index gained 12.2% while the Russell 2000® Index was up an astonishing 31.4%. Election fears quickly became a distant memory in November and gave way to a buying stampede that went into high gear alongside the unveiling of a COVID vaccine. For the year, the S&P and Russell finished up 18.4% and 20.0%, respectively. Suffice it to say, such remarkable gains seemed unthinkable back in March when virus concerns had the S&P down over 30% for the year.
Equity markets continued their strong positive performance off the March lows in the third quarter. Despite a modest selloff in September, the S&P 500® Index gained 8.9% in the third quarter. Combined with Q2’s 20.5% gain, it was the best two-quarter stretch for large cap stocks since 2009, when markets were recovering from the financial crisis. Small caps’ gains were less robust, with a 4.9% rise in the Russell 2000® Index during Q3. Year-to-date, the S&P 500 is up 5.6% through the end of the third quarter, and the Russell 2000 is down 8.7%.
Equity markets find themselves in a much different place than a quarter ago. When we penned our first quarter update, coronavirus fears gripped financial markets around the world and stocks had retreated sharply from their highs. Since then, we’ve witnessed an astounding recovery for equities. In the second quarter, the S&P 500® gained 20.5% (its best quarter since 1998) while the Russell 2000® advanced 25.4%. Year-to-date, the S&P finished the period down 3.1%, a manageable decline that flies in the face of the dire predictions from just a few months ago. The Russell finished year-to-date down 13.0%, clearly a meaningful decline but much better than negative 30.6% at the end of March.
These are frightening and unusual times. Economies, financial markets, and people around the world are gripped with coronavirus fears. We’ve gone from a buoyant economy that was supported by a very healthy consumer to a full-blown crisis. The S&P 500® Index declined 19.6% in the first quarter and experienced the fastest move into bear market territory in history. The Russell 2000® Index declined 30.6% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average had its worst first quarter ever. The market’s swoon has been nauseating and very few stocks have been defensive.