The Wall Street Journal has characterized the year 2000 as “a year living dangerously” for most investors. The NASDAQ Composite Index plunged 39.3%, the worst year since it was created in 1971, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 6.2%, breaking a nine year winning streak. International equity markets fared no better as the Dow Jones World Stock Index, excluding the U.S., was down 17.4%. (1)
During the early months of 2000, after several years of market leadership by large cap growth stocks, and in particular the technology and Internet fund sectors, many portfolio managers and market prognosticators debated the appropriateness of broader portfolio diversification. It was argued that greater portfolio concentration in these strong performing sectors of the market is the key to successful investing in the new economy. For investors who chose to follow this line of thinking, the year 2000 proved particularly difficult. The Lipper Index for Large Cap Growth Stock funds was down 19.68%, with Mid Cap Growth funds off 16.13% and Science and Technology funds down 30.27% for the year.
As expected, amidst the carnage, there were some bright spots to be found. Traditional “old” economy stocks and value investing reemerged, as the Lipper Index for Large Cap Value Stock Mutual Funds posted a modest gain of 1.95%, followed by Mid Cap Value up 10.59% and Small Cap Value up 16.10%. The NAREIT Index for Real Estate Investment Trusts posted a gain of 26.37% for the year and bond investors generally experienced more favorable returns with the Lehman Brothers Long Term Bond Index up 20.11%. (2)
While no investor relishes these trying market conditions, they nonetheless serve as a reminder of several well-learned investment principles to which we strongly adhere. First and foremost, stock market investing does not come without risk and short term volatility. It is because of this risk that stock market investing provides an opportunity to achieve higher long-term relative returns than bonds and other more stable investments. Second, investors who tend to chase the short-term “hot” segments of the market often experience disappointing results. And finally, we believe that the current market environment reinforces the benefits of broad global portfolio diversification as a viable approach to meeting long-term investment objectives at an acceptable level of risk.
It is particularly important during these difficult times that we remain committed to our long-term investment strategy. You should find both comfort and confidence in the knowledge that your investment portfolio continues to be guided by some of the industry’s leading portfolio strategists whose investment policy committees are steeped in experienced, capable senior investment professionals. For those of you who have experienced several sleepless nights during this difficult period, it may be a good time for us to get together and review the
appropriateness of the risk/return profile selected for your investment strategy.
As always, we welcome the opportunity to discuss your individual financial circumstances and the continued viability of your investment strategy. Best wishes for much health, happiness and success in the New Year.
Past performance is not indicative of future returns. Investors cannot invest directly in an index.
(1) Source: Wall Street Journal, January 2, 2001.
(2) Source: Wall Street Journal, January 2, 2001; National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT) Equity REIT Index.