Thriving During Volatility Weekly Update – August 31, 2015

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/stockimages

Image courtesy of
FreeDigitalPhotos.net/stockimages

After a tumultuous week with many ups and downs, markets regained ground to close in the black. For the week, the S&P 500 gained 0.91%, the Dow grew 1.11%, and the NASDAQ added 2.60%.

It’s hard to watch your portfolio value fluctuate, especially when the money involved represents a lifetime of hard work and a comfortable future. If you’re at or nearing retirement, you might be feeling especially emotional about market movements.

Right now, U.S. markets are experiencing a period of significant volatility with rapid selloffs followed by powerful rallies. High stock valuations and concerns about global economic growth are contributing to the swings in investor sentiment.

During volatile times it’s very easy to get spooked and start questioning the logic behind your portfolio strategies. While it may seem tempting to pull out of the market and wait out the volatility, making investment decisions based on fear is usually the worst thing you can do. Behavioral economists have found that people feel the effect of market losses more than twice as powerfully as market gains. Losses hurt.

However, we can’t have the possible gains without the losses. It’s the nature of markets to move up and down, sometimes very rapidly. Trying to time markets is extremely difficult, and you’re unlikely to get the result you want by jumping in and out of markets.

So, what can you do when markets swing?

Use your head, not your gut. It’s natural to feel emotional about your hard-earned money. However, making emotional investing decisions can be very costly because you’re likely to buy and sell at the wrong time, potentially locking in your losses and losing out on gains.

Take a step back. We know that it’s hard to tune out the noise when media headlines scream that the sky is falling. Even when you know intellectually that pullbacks are normal, it’s natural to worry about whether this time is different. However, we recommend that you focus on the big questions:

  • Have your goals changed?
  • Has your investment timeframe changed?
  • Are your investments still in line with your goals?

Talk to us. If you’re worried about how recent market movements may affect your personal situation, we want to hear from you. Before making any decisions, give us a call to discuss your personal situation.

 ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: Chicago PMI, Dallas Fed Mfg. Survey

Tuesday: Motor Vehicle Sales, PMI Manufacturing Index, ISM Mfg. Index, Construction Spending

Wednesday: ADP Employment Report, Productivity and Costs, Factory Orders, Beige Book

Thursday: International Trade, Jobless Claims, ISM Non-Mfg. Index, EIA Natural Gas Report, EIA Petroleum Status Report

Friday: Employment Situation

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HEADLINES:Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

Q2 GDP growth surprises. The second estimate of second-quarter Real Gross Domestic Product growth surprised by coming in at 3.7%. The first estimate showed 2.3% growth after 0.6% growth in the first quarter.

Consumer sentiment falls in August. A measure of consumer optimism about the economy fell this month, reaching the lowest level since May. However, economists still believe personal spending is on track.

Oil prices bounce back. Global oil prices experienced their biggest one-day rally since 2009 on Thursday. Prices rose on the back of stronger-than-expected GDP data, a pipeline outage in Nigeria, and higher equity markets.

Consumer spending rises in July. Rising wages led to a healthy increase in consumer spending, which rose 0.3% last month. Americans also stepped up their savings rate.

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