Two financial unknowns may erode our degree of confidence.
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.