Isaacson Update & Special Reports
Fueled by continued Fed support and positive signs on the economy, including housing and corporate profitability, U.S. stocks posted their best first quarter since 1998, with the S&P 500 Index gaining 10.6%. Developed foreign stocks were held back by Europe and only posted a 3.8% gain for the quarter. Emerging markets lost 3.5% amidst signs of economic slowing in key countries. Meanwhile, the broad bond-market index was nearly flat.
The U.S. stock market shrugged off government spending cuts (sequestration) without much drama in the first quarter. How and when we deal with the issue of our growing deficit remains a major unknown. What we do know is that these challenges cannot be resolved without spending less and/or taxing more, resulting in an economic headwind. Most experts agree the Fed has no immediate plans to tighten its stimulative policies. However, there is significant uncertainty as to the medium to long term consequences of these policies and whether the Fed’s exit plan will be executed successfully. As the economic recovery approaches four years old, it seems to be in a “two steps forward, one step back” pattern. Most indicators point to a similar pattern continuing for the markets as well, with significant cash still on the sidelines, bond markets seemingly offering little upside and equities comparatively attractive. Investors should continue to be prepared for the requisite bumps along the road, whether provided by normal market gyrations, geopolitical events or of the self inflicted variety, courtesy of our elected officials in Washington D.C.
On Tuesday, February 5, we had an exciting and informative webinar with Liz Ann Sonders, Chief Investment Strategist of Charles Schwab & Co. Liz Ann shared her insights on the markets and economy in 2013, including leading trends, indicators, and opportunities for this year, and what they can mean for you.
Liz Ann Sonders has a range of investment strategy responsibilities as Chief Investment Strategist at Charles Schwab & Co., reaching from market and economic analysis to investor education, all focused on the individual investor. She analyzes and interprets the economy and markets on behalf of Schwab’s entire client base and chairs their Investment Strategy Council, which provides strategic asset allocation guidance and tactical sector recommendations for the company’s investor base. Liz Ann is a regular guest on many CNBC programs, as well as on ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, PBS NewsHour, Fox Business News, CNN, and Bloomberg TV & Radio. She is also regularly quoted in major financial publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, BloombergBusinessWeek and Associated Press articles; and has written a column for the Financial Times. Liz Ann received her B.A. in economics and political science from the University of Delaware, and her M.B.A. in finance from Fordham University.
Joel Isaacson & Co. held a cocktail reception and discussion on "A View From Washington" for clients and friends on Monday, October 1, 2012 at the Yale Club in midtown Manhattan. Political expert Greg Valliere shared his outlook for the economy as the Federal Reserve considered more stimulus. He focused on the "fiscal cliff" and what it could mean for the Bush tax cuts and extension of the debt ceiling. He also discussed further efforts to curb the budget deficit and whether there could there be a "grand compromise" this winter. Greg spoke about how the Obama-Romney cliffhanger, as well as House and Senate races, could affect your clients and your business, and discussed plans for Israel and the West to impose harsh new sanctions on Iran.