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Q3 2017 Market Commentary

Global stock markets delivered robust gains in the third quarter 2017 as volatility fell in the U.S. and the dollar depreciated, supercharging International returns. Emerging Market stocks led the way with MSCI Emerging Markets up 7.9%. Non-U.S. developed markets, as measured by MSCI World Ex US, were up 5.6%, while the S&P 500 rose 4.5%.

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Fear the Fed?

“The Fed’s rate hike could cause chaos in markets — and investors may not be ready.” While this could easily have been a headline from this year following Federal Reserve (Fed) rate hikes in March and June, this particular headline from Reuters came out in December 2015, just before the first rate hike in the years following the financial crisis.

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International Investing Rewards Patient Investors

What a difference a few months can make. Whether it was Brexit, Grexit, worries about China or “expert” predictions of imminent global financial collapse, many investors in the last few years turned away from investing internationally – or at least questioned if it really made sense for their portfolios.

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Q2 2017 Market Commentary

Global stock markets delivered robust gains in the second quarter of 2017 as stronger earnings growth, upswings in global economic data and diminished political uncertainty in Europe all supported risk appetite. International stocks led the way with non-U.S. developed markets, as measured by MSCI World Ex US, up 5.6% and MSCI Emerging Markets up 6.3%, while the S&P 500 rose 3.1%.

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What Are You Aiming For?

When you look at the returns of a variety of asset classes over the past 15 years, it’s hard to find any meaningful patterns. The chart here shows the returns on 11 different asset classes since 2002, and it’s quickly evident that what was the star of last year rarely shines the brightest the following year.

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Markets Reward Long-Term Investors — Most Stocks Don’t

The fundamental value proposition of active management is that skilled managers can successfully pick winning stocks (and avoid poor performers). Of course, the results historically have been far from encouraging, with the majority of active managers failing to beat their benchmarks or sustain any period of outperformance they are able to eke out.