Analyzing December Data Before Looking to the Year Ahead

By Glenn Dorsey, Clark Capital Senior Vice President, Client Portfolio Manager

U.S. equity markets generated positive returns in December. The S&P 500 increased 1.97% for the month, while small cap stocks, as measured by the Russell 2000, increased by 2.80%. Value stocks (+2.62%) outpaced growth stocks (+1.25%). Developed international stocks increased by 3.44%, while emerging market stocks increased by a more modest 0.05% as the dollar rallied just shy of +2% for the month.


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For the full year, the S&P 500 increased 11.95%. The Russell 2000 (small caps) grew by 21.28% as compared to the Russell 1000 (large caps), which saw a 12.04% increase. The Russell 3000 Value Index increased by 18.38% and easily outpaced the 7.38% gain achieved by the Russell 3000 Growth Index. Developed international stocks increased 5.00% and emerging market stocks were up 11.27%.

Fixed income markets were mixed in December as rates increased somewhat across the yield curve. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury increased from 2.37 to 2.45% during the month. The Barclays Aggregate Bond Index increased by 0.14% for the month as Treasuries declined 0.11% and investment grade bonds increased by 0.67%. Municipals rebounded in December, increasing by 1.17%. The Barclays High Yield Index again outperformed and increased by 1.85%.