Further Fed Delays: Slower economic growth has conspired with lower inflation both abroad and at home to push the Fed to delay their highly anticipated rise in short-term interest rates.
Equities Have Risen to a High Water Mark: Europe and small caps have led the charge in equities as many large cap and dividend payers have suffered due to the dollar’s strong advance and the collapse in energy prices.
The Labor Market Strengthens: The four-week rolling average of first-time unemployment claims has reached the lowest level since 2000.
The Navigator ADR/International Equity strategy gained 7.30% gross (+6.51% net) for the first quarter ending March 31, 2015, outpacing both the EAFE (+4.88%) and the broader MSCI All Country World ex U.S. Index (+3.49%). For the past two years, this strategy has gained +15.66% annualized gross (+12.28% net) or 10% per year ahead of the broad market benchmark. Our overweighting in both Healthcare and Technology sectors materially helped the portfolio during the quarter while our Utilities and Industrials sector exposure reduced performance. Irish medical services company ICON gained 38%, Russian telecom giant Mobile Telesys rebounded over 40% and Argentinean Grupo Financiero rallied 45%, Telefon Brasil, Chinese utility Huaneng Power and Michael Kors all lost between 11 to 14%. We remain significantly overweight Ireland, China and Canada and underweight European countries and Australia versus the benchmark. While I have the utmost confidence in this strategy to provide excess returns over a market cycle by investing in high quality, undervalued foreign businesses with improving business prospects, I do not anticipate duplicating the magnitude of our relative two year performance. Although our investment process naturally reduces its allocation to deteriorating sectors and industries, we will almost always have some positions in large economic sectors and thus, at a minimum, suffer some decline when those groups experience large losses. The value characteristics of the ADR strategy remain more compelling than both its U.S. and international benchmarks as the current P/E of 15.3 is far less than that of the S&P 500 (18.3) and EAFE (17.3) with similar quality and business growth characteristics.
The opinions expressed are those of Clark Capital Management Group Investment Team. The opinions referenced are as of the date of publication and are subject to change due to changes in the market or economic conditions and may not necessarily come to pass. There is no guarantee of the future performance of any Clark Capital investments portfolio. Material presented has been derived from sources considered to be reliable, but the accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. Nothing herein should be construed as a solicitation, recommendation or an offer to buy, sell or hold any securities, other investments or to adopt any investment strategy or strategies. For educational use only. This information is not intended to serve as investment advice. This material is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast or research. The investment or strategy discussed may not be suitable for all investors. Investors must make their own decisions based on their specific investment objectives and financial circumstances. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
Returns are presented gross of investment advisory fees and include the reinvestment of all income. Gross returns will be reduced by investment advisory fees and other expenses that may be incurred in the management of the account. For example, a 0.50% annual fee deducted quarterly (.125%) from an account with a ten year annualized growth rate of 5% will produce a net result of 4.4%. Actual performance results will vary from this example. The Firm’s policies for valuing portfolios, calculating performance, and preparing compliant presentations are available upon request.
Net returns are shown net of 3%, the highest fee that could potentially be charged including investment advisory fees, trading, custody, investment advisory fees and any other expenses that may be incurred in the management of the account. Actual performance results will vary from this example. The Firm’s policies for valuing portfolios, calculating performance, and preparing compliant presentations are available upon request.
The S&P 500 measures the performance of the 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy, capturing 75% of U.S. equities.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a stock market index that shows how 30 large publicly owned companies based in the U.S. have traded during a standard trading session in the stock market.
The MSCI EAFE Index is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure the equity market performers of developed markets outside the U.S. and Canada.
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is a free float adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure equity market performance in the global emerging markets.
There is not assurance that any securities, sectors or industries discussed herein will be included in or excluded from an account’s portfolio. It should not be assumed that any of the securities transactions, holdings or sectors discussed were or will prove to be profitable, or that the investment recommendation or decisions we make in the future will be profitable or equal to the investment performance of the securities discussed herein. All recommendations from the last 12 months are available upon request.
The Russell 3000® Index measures the performance of the 3,000 largest U.S. companies based on total market capitalization, which represents approximately 98% of the investable U.S. equity market.
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is a forward looking index of market risk which shows expectation of volatility over the coming 30 days.
The volatility (beta) of a client’s portfolio may be greater or less than its respective benchmark. It is not possible to invest in these indices.
Barclays U.S. Government/Credit Bond Index measures the performance of U.S. dollar denominated U.S. Treasuries, government-related & investment grade U.S. corporate securities that have a remaining maturity of greater than one year.
The Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index covers the U.S. investment-grade fixed-rate bond market, including government and credit securities, agency mortgage pass-through securities, asset-backed securities and commercial mortgage-based securities. To qualify for inclusion, a bond or security must have at least one year to final maturity and be rated investment grade Baa3 or better, dollar denominated, non-convertible, fixed rate and publicly issued.
The B of A Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield Index tracks the performance of below investment grade U.S. dollar-denominated corporate bonds publicly issued in the U.S. domestic market.
The Barclays 7-10 Year Treasury Index tracks the investment results of an index comprised of the U.S. Treasury bonds with remaining maturities between seven and ten years.
The Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Index tracks the investment results of an index comprised of the U.S. Treasury bonds with remaining maturities greater than twenty years.
The Barclays Long-Term Year Treasury Index tracks the performance of the long-term U.S. government bond market.
The Barclays U.S. Corporate High-Yield Index covers the USD-denominated, non-investment grade, fixed-rate, taxable corporate bond market. Securities are classified as high-yield if the middle rating of Moody’s, Fitch, and S&P is Ba1/BB+/BB+ or below.
The Barclays U.S. Treasury Bond Index is an issuances-weighted index measuring the performance of the U.S. Treasury bond market, one of the largest and most liquid government bond markets in the world.
Index returns include the reinvestment of income and dividends. The returns for these unmanaged indexes do not include any transaction costs, management fees or other costs. It is not possible to make an investment directly in any index.
Clark Capital Management Group, Inc. is an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about Clark Capital’s advisory services and fees can be found in its Form ADV which is available upon request.