Equities continued to run as we hit the middle part of the month. The S&P 500 added another 1.2% for the week. Emerging markets were up 2.4% and even bonds advanced as the Barclays Bloomberg Aggregate Bond Index gained 0.6% on the week. The feared rebalancing and tax-loss selling never materialized, as the S&P 500 has gone over a month without back-to-back down days.
The year started with an event that caused volatility in oil markets. The drone strike of the Iranian General, Qassem Soleimani, led to swings in the energy markets. The price for WTI Crude Oil shot up by 3% the day the strike was announced. Over the last week, the price for the commodity peaked at $63.27/barrel and the price as of yesterday’s close was down to 59.61.
Equities posted strong returns for the month of December with the S&P 500 up 3.0% and emerging market equities up 7.4%. For the year, the S&P 500 gained 31.5%, which bettered small caps by roughly 6%. Foreign equities posted good gains, but lagged the U.S. market by 8-12% depending on which benchmark is used.