Penn Wealth Publishing

2016.01.10 Journal of Wealth & Success Vol 4 Issue 1.1

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Page 12 of 21

January 10, 2016 wealth & success volume 4 issue 1 13 wealth & success Copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved. investment intelligence Wall Street Adios, 2015 By most accounts, 2015 was a giant dud for investors, no matter where they parked their money The year 2015 is now in the history books, and if there is a word to describe the year in finance, it would have to be tedious. The S&P and Dow crossed the finish line with their first annual losses since 2008, though it doesn't really feel like we had six straight years of gains leading up to 2015. After a disconcerting January, it did appear that stocks were picking up some serious steam going into summer, only to be body-slammed in fall, dropping 10%. In the fourth quarter another comeback was attempted, only to be thwarted in the waning weeks of 2015. No Santa Claus rally, no St. Ledger Day bounce, just tediousness. If there was a glimmer of hope for the year, it was in the tech-studded Nasdaq. While this index rose in 2015, it was on the backs of a few players like Amazon AMZN (up 118%) and Netflix NFLX (up 134%)—both of whom we see trading relatively flat in 2016. The worst performing industry for the year was coal, with big producers like Peabody BTU and Arch ACI down over 90%. According to the dopey-looking actors on the TV commercials, gold is still the panacea investment. Odd, since the yellow metal fin- ished 2015 down by 12%, and we see it falling into triple digits this year. Energy stocks are another favorite playground for the charla- tans trying to snare unsuspecting small investors. As the price of crude was falling 38% in 2015, the Energy Select Sector SPDR XLE , with names like Chevron CVX , Conoco COP , and Exxon XOM , was busy los- ing 24%. We do find a silver lining in these losses, however, as our enemies were hurt a lot more than were we. In fact, the dual drop in commodities (off 30% for the year) and energy was responsible for a serious shakeout of leftists in Latin America. Seems they ran out of other-people's money to spend. In past market downturns, investors could find safety (and yield) in fixed income investments. Not so this time. As the Fed spent the year threatening to raise rates, the total bond market index was off 2%. Talk of a bubble in the high-yield bond market spooked junk bonds into a 12.2% sell-off. So what about the rest of the world? Well, Europe was able to eek out some gains on the year, but only because of a European Central Bank flooding the continent with new euros. The emerging markets got crushed on the back of $35 per barrel oil and China's falling demand for commodities. In short, tedious. Long live 2016.

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