Happy New Year!! I hope that 2013 will be a happy, healthy and succesful year for all readers of this blog.
The start of a new year encourages reflections on what happened in 2012 and what is likely to happen next.
Weston Wellington, from Dimensional Fund Advisors in the US in his latest commentary piece reminds us that much of what was predicted for 2012 didn't happen:
- The plunge off the so-called fiscal cliff was averted.
- The euro zone did not fall apart.
- China’s economy and stock market did not crash.
- The bond market did not implode.
- The re-election of President Barack Obama did not derail the US market.
- Doomsday did not arrive on December 21, as some interpreters of the Mayan calendar suggested it would.
It goes to show that trying to predict the future for investment markets is near impossible. This proposition is backed up by a myriad of historical and contemporary research showing the great difficulty in being successful with an active approach to management of your investments
So if you are prone to try to make such predictions and consequently make big bets with your investment portfolio, go away, have a cuppa and then come back to your investment portfolio with the objective of a building a portfolio structured for the long term and not on the latest whim.
Weston's full article can be found below.
January 5, 2013
2012: The Year It Didn’t Happen
Judging by the headlines in the financial press, investors spent much of the past year anxiously awaiting one calamity after another that failed to occur. The plunge off the so-called fiscal cliff was averted. The euro zone did not fall apart. China’s economy and stock market did not crash. The bond market did not implode. The re-election of President Barack Obama did not derail the US market. The “flash glitch” in early August did not lead to further trading disruptions. Doomsday did not arrive on December 21, as some interpreters of the Mayan calendar suggested it would.
Instead, the belief that owning a share of the world’s businesses is a sensible idea appears to be alive and well, despite suggestions from some observers that the “cult of equity” is dead. For the year, total return was 16.42% for the MSCI World Index in local currency, and 16.00% for the S&P 500 Index. Among forty-five global stock markets tracked by MSCI, only three posted negative results in local currency (Chile, Israel, and Morocco), and twelve markets had total returns in excess of 25%, with Turkey leading the pack at 55.8%. Although much of the financial news over the past year highlighted Europe’s fragile financial health, most of the region’s equity markets outperformed the US, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland. For US dollar-based investors, results were further enhanced by a modest decline in the US dollar relative to the euro, the Danish krone, and the Swiss franc.
As is so often the case, earning the rewards offered by the world’s capital markets may have required a combination of discipline and detachment that eluded many investors.
2012 Index and Country Performance
Total return (gross dividends) for 12-month period ending December 31, 2012.
|WORLD ex USA
|EMERGING + FRONTIER MARKETS