Strange, Long Year Ends on High Note
The doldrums of August-October were a distant memory as December ended a two-month surge to put a bow on an eventful year. Subdued inflation readings and optimism over future rate cuts buoyed the market moves. The S&P 500 was up nearly 12% in the fourth quarter, bringing 2023’s total return to 26.3% and erasing 2022’s -18.1% return. US large cap growth helped propel the index higher, up over 42% for the year. Small cap stocks were up a staggering 22% over November and December, its best two-month stretch since December 2020. Non-US stocks joined in on the final quarter’s festivities as well, but lagged the US’s performance. Bonds enjoyed a collapse in yields from their October highs, sending the Bloomberg Aggregate returns for the quarter over 6% and wrapping up the year at a respectable 5.5%.
Fed Points to Rate Cuts in 2024
The Federal Reserve held rates steady as expected in December, marking the third consecutive meeting with no change. Markets reacted positively to indications of no further rate hikes and the potential for at least three rate cuts in 2024. Rates across the curve fell sharply in response, helping boost fixed income returns to round out the year.
“Magnificent 7” Propel Markets in 2023
Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon, Meta, Tesla and Nvidia were one of the primary market stories of 2023, with the an average total return gain of 111.6% in 2023. Their outperformance created sizable disparities in what was an overall positive year, as the US and growth indices outpaced other broad market indices. Within the S&P 500, the seven stocks accounted for roughly 62% of the S&P 500’s performance for the year.
COMMENTARY FROM ASSET MANAGERS
US Mid Cap Value Manager
Defensive characteristics for small cap benefitted high quality managers in October. November and December, however, saw a rally in small and mid cap stocks driven by lower quality names who would benefit from expected lower rates.
International Value Manager
China was a broad disappointment in 2023, as the anticipated rebound failed to materialize amidst a declining property sector and slower economic growth. China’s outsized influence was noticeable on multiple fronts, weighing heavily on the MSCI Emerging Markets Index return, growth challenges affecting luxury brands in developed markets, and a transition towards the service sector potentially impacting the supply/demand picture for bulk commodities.
Global Bond Manager
Roughly 40% of corporate maturities due in 2024 and 2025 have been pushed out to further maturity dates, making the maturity wall less of an issue in the current cycle. As rates have pulled backed, the manager expects to see a fair amount of corporate refinancing and new issues in the near future.
CHART OF THE MONTH
© 2024 Advisory services offered by Moneta Group Investment Advisors, LLC, (“MGIA”) an investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). MGIA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Moneta Group, LLC. Registration as an investment adviser does not imply a certain level of skill or training. The information contained herein is for informational purposes only, is not intended to be comprehensive or exclusive, and is based on materials deemed reliable, but the accuracy of which has not been verified.
Trademarks and copyrights of materials referenced herein are the property of their respective owners. Index returns reflect total return, assuming reinvestment of dividends and interest. The returns do not reflect the effect of taxes and/or fees that an investor would incur. Examples contained herein are for illustrative purposes only based on generic assumptions. Given the dynamic nature of the subject matter and the environment in which this communication was written, the information contained herein is subject to change. This is not an offer to sell or buy securities, nor does it represent any specific recommendation. You should consult with an appropriately credentialed professional before making any financial, investment, tax or legal decision. An index is an unmanaged portfolio of specified securities and does not reflect any initial or ongoing expenses nor can it be invested in directly. Past performance is not indicative of future returns. All investments are subject to a risk of loss. Diversification and strategic asset allocation do not assure profit or protect against loss in declining markets. These materials do not take into consideration your personal circumstances, financial or otherwise
Morningstar Direct as of 12.31.2023
Bloomberg as of 12.31.2023
Manager comments come from discussions with various asset managers and are broad commentary on sectors and not be considered recommendations by any asset manager. These comments do not necessarily reflect strategy allocations or the view or opinion of MGIA or Moneta Group .
The S&P 500 Index is a free-float capitalization-weighted index of the prices of approximately 500 large-cap common stocks actively traded in the United States.
The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market capitalization weighted index with more than 3000 common equities listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market.
The Russell 1000® Index is an index of 1000 issues representative of the U.S. large capitalization securities market.
The Russell 1000® Growth Index measures the performance of the large-cap growth segment of the U.S. equity universe. It includes those Russell 1000 companies with higher price-to-book ratios and higher forecasted growth values.
The Russell 1000® Value Index measures the performance of those Russell 1000 Index securities with lower price-to-book ratios and lower forecasted growth values, representative of U.S. Securities exhibiting value characteristics.
The Russell 2000® Index is an index of 2000 issues representative of the U.S. small capitalization securities market.
The MSCI EAFE Index is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index designed to measure the equity market performance of developed markets, excluding the U.S. and Canada.
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is a float-adjusted market capitalization index that consists of indices in 21 emerging economies.
Bloomberg U.S. Treasury Bond Index includes public obligations of the US Treasury, i.e. US government bonds. Certain Treasury bills are excluded by a maturity constraint. In addition, certain special issues, such as state and local government series bonds (SLGs), as well as U.S. Treasury TIPS, are excluded.
The Bloomberg U.S. Municipal Index covers the USD-denominated long-term tax exempt bond market. It includes general obligation and revenue bonds, which both can be pre-refunded years later and get reclassified as such.
The Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index is an index, with income reinvested, generally representative of intermediate-term government bonds, investment grade corporate debt securities and mortgage-backed securities.
The Bloomberg US Corporate Bond Index measures the investment grade, fixed-rate, taxable corporate bond market. It includes USD-denominated securities publicly issued by US and non-US industrial, utility and financial issuers.
The Bloomberg US Corporate High Yield Bond Index measures the USD-denominated, high yield, fixed-rate corporate bond market. Securities are classified as high yield if the middle rating of Moody’s, Fitch and S&P is Ba1/BB+/BB+ or below. Bonds from issuers with an emerging markets country of risk, based on the indices’ EM country definition, are excluded.
The US Dollar Index measures the US dollar against six global currencies: the euro, Swiss franc, Japanese yen, Canadian dollar, British pound, and Swedish krona.
The FTSE Nareit All Equity REITs Index is a free-float adjusted, market capitalization-weighted index of U.S. equity REITs. Constituents of the index include all tax-qualified REITs with more than 50 percent of total assets in qualifying real estate assets other than mortgages secured by real property.
The S&P Global Listed Infrastructure index measures the performance of global companies that are engaged in infrastructure and related operations. It provides liquid and tradable exposure to 75 companies from around the world that represent the listed infrastructure universe. To create diversified exposure, the index includes three distinct infrastructure clusters: utilities, transportation and energy.
Brent crude is the most traded of all of the oil benchmarks, and is defined as crude mostly drilled from the North Sea oilfields: Brent, Forties, Oseberg and Ekofisk (collectively known as BFOE).
The Dow Jones Commodity Index Gold is designed to track the gold market through futures contracts.
The ICE BofA Option-Adjusted Spreads (OASs) are the calculated spreads between a computed OAS index of all bonds in a given rating category and a spot Treasury curve. An OAS index is constructed using each constituent bond’s OAS, weighted by market capitalization. The Corporate Master OAS uses an index of bonds that are considered investment grade (those rated BBB or better). When the last calendar day of the month takes place on the weekend, weekend observations will occur as a result of month ending accrued interest adjustments.
The ICE BofA Option-Adjusted Spreads (OASs) are the calculated spreads between a computed OAS index of all bonds in a given rating category and a spot Treasury curve. An OAS index is constructed using each constituent bond’s OAS, weighted by market capitalization. The ICE BofA High Yield Master II OAS uses an index of bonds that are below investment grade (those rated BB or below).
Asset class valuations are a percentile ranking based on monthly data going back to common inception of 9/1/2006. The US Large Cap percentile is the average percentile ranking of the trailing P/E, P/B, P/S, and P/C ratio of the S&P 500 Index. The US Small Cap percentile is the average percentile ranking of the trailing P/E, P/B, P/S, and P/C ratio of the Russell 2000 Index. The International Developed percentile is the average percentile ranking of the trailing P/E, P/B, P/S, and P/C ratio of the MSCI EAFE NR Index. The Emerging Market percentile is the average percentile ranking of the trailing P/E, P/B, P/S, and P/C ratio of the MSCI Emerging Markets NR Index. The 10-Year US Treasury percentile is the percentile ranking of the 10-Year US Treasury yield. The Investment Grade percentile is the percentile ranking of the ICE BofA US Corporate option adjusted spread. The High Yield Corporate percentile is the percentile ranking of the ICE BofA US High Yield corporate option adjusted spread. The Municipal/Treasury percentile is the percentile ranking of the Bloomberg Municipal Index yield divided by the 10-Year US Treasury Yield.