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Where we stand today

By Dian Vujovich

Now that we’ve entered the second half of 2015, two words that represent the market’s performance during the first half of this year that will also be carried forward into the second of the year are “ uncertainly” and “ volatility”.

Concerns about a modest hike in interest rates continue to swirl and be blamed for the market’s ever-unpredictable behavior. Who knows precisely why or how that frightens so many is beyond me. Perhaps those concerned are simply angry with themselves for not taking advantage of the many things that the lowest interest rates in recent history have afforded everyone from the rich to the not-so wealthy working individual. Car loans, mortgages and participating in a roaring seven-year bull market come to mind.

Speaking of the market, the more time that goes by without a market correction, (10 percent) or bear market (a fall of 20 percent) or big time collapse (30 percent or more), the closer we get to one of those events happening. Looked at another way, it’s a lot like aging: The older you get, the closer you come to the end of your life.

Louis Navellier, in this week’s Market 360, reminded investors that even though the Dow and S&P 500 have slipped, he urged investors “ not to add to the panic selling”, that global markets will rebound “thanks in part to the rebound in the Shanghai Composite Index”, and even though sales and earnings have slowed for many multinational companies, earnings during this second quarter earnings season for some companies will be “stunning”.

Jack Albin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank points out that the S&P 500 is trading more than 20 percent above its 20-year price-to-sales ratio median. In his Outlook for Financial Market for August 2015, he states: “While valuation is not a marketing too, it does represent one of the most serious headwinds investors face this year.”

Taking a more global perspective from another source, the IMF cut its forecast for global growth stating that the world economy will grow 3.3 percent in 2015. In April the projection was 3.5 percent. The reason they gave for the global downgrade was due to the U.S, which the IMF now sees growing at 2.5 percent this year rather than its April projection of 3.1 percent

As for mutual fund performance, year-to-date through July 9, 2015, Lipper figures show the average U.S. Diversified Equity Fund to be up 1.51 percent, the average World Equity Fund to be up 1.9 percent (the average Japanese fund, however is up 12.81 percent), and the big performance winners to be Health/Biotech Funds, up on average over 16 percent and Global Health/Biotech Funds up 13.7 percent.

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