January 2016 Advisory Commentary

Post Series: Advisory Commentary

December provided a noisy finish to a tumultuous 2015. The broad indexes were down across the board as volatility increased once again. As the Fed finally began its long-awaited rate increase cycle, the bond market provided even more fuel to the fire with investors not confident of where to invest to avoid the equity market’s consistent malaise.

The energy market is providing what may be the biggest question mark for 2016, as oil fell over 14% in December to end the year at what will either be viewed as a fantastic buying opportunity or the continuation of a further slump in this sector. The interesting thing about this, is that as we see gasoline prices dip below $2/gallon, we have not seen the traditionally energetic response from the retail sector that we normally see, as American consumers have more discretionary spending power from the low fuel prices.

As China’s growth continues to slow, causing commodity prices to fall across the board, we are left to wonder if the rest of the world (mainly the U.S.) is in good enough shape to weather the storm, or will it be pushed into recession?

As there is no shortage of questions to be answered as we head into 2016, we continue to believe the prudent path is to be on both sides of the market. As volatility should continue to persist, we believe that a portfolio consisting of more non-traditional assets will likely provide superior risk-adjusted returns compared to a standard growth-oriented portfolio.

Brian Weckman, RFC
Chief Investment Officer
Actis Wealth Management L.C.

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