Volatility awakens!

Volatility Awakens: A Market Review

The beginning of the first quarter was serene and pleasurable, as equity markets levitated on the back of increasing earnings expectations and solid world economic underpinnings. But the market euphoria didn’t last long. February saw volatility awaken from its slumber with a jolt, kicking off a long-anticipated correction that reminded investors there is never a free lunch in the world of investing. As the quarter progressed and the correction intensified, investors were forced to endure an emotional roller coaster as markets swung wildly. By the end of the quarter, most developed markets had chewed through early year gains and returns fell mildly into the red.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

2013 has treated investors to a wonderful meal of huge equity returns, and there may still be a fine port waiting for us at the end. To steal from the Pola and Wyle song, we are entering what is typically the most wonderful time of the year (and right on cue, Bernanke Claus handed the market a dovish communique for the holidays). December is the second strongest month over the last 10 years and has a very clear pattern of strength during the last half of the month, as you can see from the chart to the right (from Jeff deGraaf, with RenMac).