Stocks posted a second consecutive week of losses in the five day trading period that ended Friday. U.S. Stocks* lost 0.3%, International developed equities* lost nearly 3% and Emerging Markets* fell 4.1%. For the year, emerging markets continue to be the strongest geographical group with a gain of nearly 2% for the year, followed by U.S. stocks which are up 1.4%. International developed market equities continue to trail behind, down 2.9% so far in 2016 – a trend we anticipate reversing over the course of the second half of the year.
The two highest yielding sectors of the S&P 500 index; Utilities* and Telecom*, not only outperformed the broader market last week but are also the strongest performing sectors thus far in 2016, up 13.8% and 14.1% respectively. To be fair, Telecom stocks, as a sector, only yield 1.4%, however, some of the bigger names in this group, AT&T and Verizon, offer enticing yields of 4.9% and 4.4% respectively. While not yet an official GICS sector (that will take place in August), REITs* have delivered some of the strongest performance this month and this year, up in value nearly 6% since that start of May and now up 7.9% this year. Individual REITs are required to pay out 90% of their income to shareholders in the form of dividend income and can be attractive for those looking to diversify their portfolio while also seeking dividend income. The Dow Jones REIT exchange traded fund RWR, for example, currently yields approximately 3.7%. Fixed income has also benefited this year from the continuance of low interest rates and volatility in equities. For example, Corporate bonds* (+5.5%), U.S. Treasuries* (+3.6%) and Municipal Bonds* (+3%) have all offered investors price gains as well as income.
While income producing investments such as dividend paying stocks, REITs, and bonds have all excelled this year, we must stress that becoming overly focused on yield can potentially lead some investors astray. There is no “free money” to be gained in the capital markets and investments offering exceedingly high yields generally also carry higher relative risk. One of the biggest mistakes investors make in this low interest rate environment is putting their capital at risk only to earn a few additional points in yield. Remember, a 9% yield means very little if your investment subsequently loses 90% of its value.
*The asset classes referenced in the text above use the following Index or security to measure return: U.S. Stocks- S&P 500 Index, Developed Market Equities- MSCI EAFE Index, Emerging Markets- MSCI EM Index, Utilities- XLU (ETF), Telecom- XTL (ETF), REITS- RWR (ETF), Corporate Bonds- VCIT (ETF), U.S. Treasuries- GOVT (ETF), Municipal Bonds- ITM (ETF). All indexes are measured on a total return basis. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. You cannot invest directly in an index.
Important Information and Disclaimers
Disclosures: Hennion & Walsh is the sponsor of SmartTrust® Unit Investment Trusts (UITs). For more information on SmartTrust® UITs, please visit www.smarttrustuit.com. The overview above is for informational purposes and is not an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any SmartTrust® UITs. Investors should consider the Trust’s investment objective, risks, charges and expenses carefully before investing. The prospectus contains this and other information relevant to an investment in the Trust and investors should read the prospectus carefully before they invest.
Investing in foreign securities presents certain risks not associated with domestic investments, such as currency fluctuation, political and economic instability, and different accounting standards. This may result in greater share price volatility. These risks are heightened in emerging markets.
There are special risks associated with an investment in real estate, including credit risk, interest rate fluctuations and the impact of varied economic conditions. Distributions from REIT investments are taxed at the owner’s tax bracket.
The prices of small company and mid cap stocks are generally more volatile than large company stocks. They often involve higher risks because smaller companies may lack the management expertise, financial resources, product diversification and competitive strengths to endure adverse economic conditions.
Investing in commodities is not suitable for all investors. Exposure to the commodities markets may subject an investment to greater share price volatility than an investment in traditional equity or debt securities. Investments in commodities may be affected by changes in overall market movements, commodity index volatility, changes in interest rates or factors affecting a particular industry or commodity.
Products that invest in commodities may employ more complex strategies which may expose investors to additional risks.
Investing in fixed income securities involves certain risks such as market risk if sold prior to maturity and credit risk especially if investing in high yield bonds, which have lower ratings and are subject to greater volatility. All fixed income investments may be worth less than original cost upon redemption or maturity. Bond Prices fluctuate inversely to changes in interest rates. Therefore, a general rise in interest rates can result in the decline of the value of your investment.
MSCI- EAFE: The Morgan Stanley Capital International Europe, Australasia and Far East Index, a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure developed-market equity performance, excluding the United States and Canada.
MSCI-Emerging Markets: The Morgan Stanley Capital International Emerging Market Index, is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure the performance of global emerging markets of about 25 emerging economies.
Russell 3000: The Russell 3000 measures the performance of the 3000 largest US companies based on total market capitalization and represents about 98% of the investible US Equity market.
ML BOFA US Corp Mstr [Merill Lynch US Corporate Master]: The Merrill Lynch Corporate Master Market Index is a statistical composite tracking the performance of the entire US corporate bond market over time.
ML Muni Master [Merill Lynch US Corporate Master]: The Merrill Lynch Municipal Bond Master Index is a broad measure of the municipal fixed income market.
Investors cannot directly purchase any index.
LIBOR, London Interbank Offered Rate, is the rate of interest at which banks offer to lend money to one another in the wholesale money markets in London.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is an unweighted index of 30 “blue-chip” industrial U.S. stocks.
The S&P Midcap 400 Index is a capitalization-weighted index measuring the performance of the mid-range sector of the U.S. stock market, and represents approximately 7% of the total market value of U.S. equities. Companies in the Index fall between S&P 500 Index and the S&P SmallCap 600 Index in size: between $1-4 billion.
DJ Equity REIT Index represents all publicly traded real estate investment trusts in the Dow Jones U.S. stock universe classified as Equity REITs according to the S&P Dow Jones Indices REIT Industry Classification Hierarchy. These companies are REITSs that primarily own and operate income-producing real estate.