Trade tensions have proven quite real over the last three months and continue to dominate headlines. Market price volatility continues apace as well, affected by concerns not only about trade but also rising interest rates and energy prices.
Like the ebb and flow of the tide, we saw markets rush upward in January only to see them retreat back in February and March. We have also seen a few historically large single-day declines, only to see a big rebound a few days later. The primary reason given for this volatility has been broad concern about tariffs and a looming trade war with China.
Annually in January market predictions for the future abound. Reading the news in January is thus an exercise in incredulity – about the certainty the prognosticators declare about an inherently uncertain future.
Investing, like many aspects of our lives in 2017, has become global. The world has shrunk in ways that Ferdinand Magellan could never have imagined.
Since the Trump presidency began, we have watched the words out of Washington, DC with anxiety and rapt attention as well. There the gridlock is of a different sort. Both the House and Senate will (likely) be in recess for the month of August, but political infighting has prevented Republican lawmakers from moving forward with any sort of legislative agenda…
The world feels in flux. Changes at the helm of political ships at home and abroad appear to be steering in precarious directions. But, simultaneously, we’re observing a positive and growing tidal shift at various investment conferences that is bringing ESG investing to the foreground. Even the CFA Institute, a notoriously quantitative group of investment professionals, recently wrote that “There is a growing realization that whether motivated by economic value or moral values, ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) issues are relevant for all long-term investors.”1 As stewards of our clients’ capital, we are encouraged by this integration between value-motivated and values-motivated investors.