Have you been affected? If so, how can you try to protect yourself?
Voters in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland were posed a simple question: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” Seventy-two percent of the U.K. electorate went to the polls to answer the question, and in the final tally, Leave beat Remain 51.9% to 48.1%. A wave of anxiety has resulted...
On February 29, the Dow closed at 16,516.50, the S&P 500 at 1,932.23, the Nasdaq at 4,557.95, and the Russell 2000 at 1,033.90. Across February, the Dow was the lone gainer, up 0.30%; the Russell lost 0.14%, the S&P 0.41%, and the Nasdaq 1.21%. February brought another advance for the CBOE VIX, which gained 1.73% to a month-end close of 20.55. The standout February performance came from the PHLX Gold/Silver index, which jumped 39.07% as precious metals prices climbed.
Just two U.S. equity indices had a positive January. The Dow Jones Utility Average rose an impressive 5.80%, and the PHLX Gold/Silver index advanced 1.47%. A different kind of benchmark did much better than that: the CBOE VIX. The “fear index” gained 10.93% in January to end the month at 20.20. Paralleling the Dow’s five-and-a-half percent fall, the two other major U.S. stock indices posted big monthly retreats, as evidenced by the Y-T-D column below. The Russell 2000 lost 8.85% in January, falling to a settlement of 1,035.38 as trading ended for the month on January 29. The Dow closed at 16,466.30 that day, the S&P at 1,940.24, and the Nasdaq at 4,613.95.
While the Russell 2000 and Nasdaq Composite advanced significantly in November, the S&P 500 did not – the broad U.S. benchmark rose a mere 0.05%. Terrorists took hundreds of lives in France, Lebanon, Nigeria, Mali and Tunisia during the month, and the fear in the wake of those attacks was felt in the investment markets. Federal Reserve policy minutes contained strong hints that the central bank could raise interest rates in December, a signal investors accepted without disillusionment. Oil, gold and many other major commodities retreated. Key consumer confidence, consumer spending and manufacturing indicators disappointed, but reports on the job market and real estate market offered better news.