The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index had its worst ever start to a year falling 10% as of February 11. Subsequently climbing 13%, the Index managed to close the first quarter up 1%. Not since 1934 had the S&P 500 or its predecessor index begun the first quarter down 10% or more and managed to finish the quarter in positive territory. The drop and ensuing bounce were “insane” so said one market commentator.
In 2015, the S&P 500 increased 1%, the MSCI Global Index declined 2%, and the Barclays Aggregate Bond Index gained 1%. Emerging international and small-capitalization stocks struggled, declining 15% and 4%, respectively. Given the strong run in recent years, few may be surprised equity and bond markets took a pause, and in some segments, suffered significant declines. After all, markets have never gone straight up.