Market Commentary 3/31/18

Snow in March!!

The northeast section of the country experienced some unusual weather patterns over the past several months. The new year started with bitter freezing cold and then turned to an extended warm spell in February, with some days in the 70's. It was so warm that some began to pack away winter clothes. The arrival of March, however, changed everything. The temperature dropped and it began to snow, and it snowed every week. While many suffered noisily in the snow and the slush, some of us (skiers) celebrated. The mid-week storms produced excellent conditions on the slopes, sunny days, cold temperatures, and the crowds were gone. We skied with the place to ourselves and couldn't have been happier. We knew it wouldn't last forever, but it didn't matter.

At the same time the stock market "weathered" some changing conditions, as well. A strong move up early in the year extended the market rally that had been fueled for many years by accommodative policy as the Fed flooded the market with massive amounts of liquidity and pushed interest rates to historic lows. The upward move in the stock market was extended more recently by the potential benefits of tax reform and the rollback of regulatory burdens imposed during the Obama administration. The move took a sudden turn, however, as interest rates began to reflect the reality of stronger economic growth and rising inflationary pressures.

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