Mixed indices for April
April 2016 market commentary
- Domestic equity indices finished the month mixed, while international developed markets ended higher. The falling U.S. dollar continued to reverberate across markets, especially unhedged developed fixed income and local currency denominated emerging markets debt, both of which are negatively correlated to the U.S. dollar. Commodities and MLPs experienced strong gains throughout the month on continued strength in the real assets markets.
- For the month, the S&P 500 Index gained 0.4 percent, while the Russell 2000 Index of smaller companies increased 1.6 percent. The materials, financials, energy and healthcare sectors were the top performers, while information technology and the consumer-related sectors were weaker. Across market capitalizations, small-cap securities generally outperformed their large- and mid-cap counterparts. Across styles, value outperformed growth across all market capitalizations.
- U.S. fixed income markets were positive across all asset classes. Long-maturity Treasuries underperformed shorter-dated issues as the yield curve steepened. Investment-grade corporate securities were higher as industrial- and utility-related credits were top performers. Lower quality, higher yielding corporate securities experienced gains as well. Other sectors, including mortgage-backed securities (MBS), asset-backed securities (ABS) and municipal bonds, also ended higher.
- International markets were positive as the MSCI EAFE added 3.0 percent. Among the largest European markets, France and Germany gained 2.0 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, Italy and Spain posted returns of 2.9 and 5.2 percent, respectively. Within the Pacific region, Japan added 4.7 percent, while Australia gained 2.9 percent. In the emerging markets, the MSCI EM ended 0.6 percent higher amid notable performances from select Emerging Asian, Latin American and EMEA (Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa) Index countries.
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