Global equity markets were negative across the board for the fourth quarter, with US Small Cap (as measured by the Russell 2000) being the worst performing equity asset class, at -20.20%.
US markets had a positive second quarter, with the S&P 500 returning 3.43% and the Russell 2000 returning 7.75%. International developed markets declined 1.24% and Emerging Markets declined 7.96%.
Markets started strong in January, with the S&P 500 reaching an all-time high. Although economic indicators remained positive during the quarter, uncertainty regarding interest rates and trade policies loomed large.
With the help of a strong fourth quarter, 2017 gave investors a less volatile and record-shattering ride across nearly every major global asset class.
The U.S. economy saw slightly weaker growth during the third quarter with a 2.7% GDP estimate, down from 3.10% during the second quarter.
U.S. economic growth was stronger than initially estimated in the second quarter due to unexpected higher consumer spending and an increase in exports.
Markets delivered a robust performance for the first quarter of 2017. Domestic indexes achieved multiple record highs and volatility dampened.
The most recent economic report showed the U.S. economy advanced faster than initially anticipated, with an annualized 3.5% growth during the third quarter.
After several quarters of mixed returns between domestic and international markets, the third quarter provided positive gains in nearly all asset classes.
The US economy showed signs of regaining momentum during the second quarter. GDP had a noticeable step-up with a Fed estimate of 2.6% growth annualized.