2016 Stock Market Recap

Many people look at 2016 from different angles, but the stock market was an obvious positive to finish the year.  In 2016 the Matson Money US Equity Fund (Diversified US Stocks) was up over 21%, and the Matson Money International Equity Fund (Diversified Intl. Stocks) was up over 8%.  The following is an insight article from the Matson Money client statements about what we can learn from what happened with the election and the stock market.

“The 4th quarter of 2016 was a memorable one in the United States for many reasons. We  experienced the most partisan and unique election season in recent memory, culminating in an election result that few expected. The news of a potential Donald Trump presidency  brought forth many pundits clamoring to give their opinion on how it may affect the stock  market and the economy as a whole.

Prior to the election, on Fortune.com, Katie Reilly reported that Citigroup predicted that a Trump win would have a negative effect on the stock market, believing the S&P 500 index would fall 3% to 5% if Trump was elected. Evelyn Cheng reported on CNBC the day before the election that JP Morgan, Barclays, Citi, and BMO all expected a Trump victory would have a negative impact on the stock market, with Barclays being as bold as saying the S&P 500 could potentially fall 11 to 13 percent.

Some went even further with their market predictions. Simon Johnson of MarketWatch wrote:
“The election of Donald Trump…would likely cause the stock market to crash and plunge the world into recession.”

In an interview with Neil Cavuto, noted billionaire Mark Cuban stated:
“In the event Donald wins, I have no doubt in my mind the market tanks,” Cuban said. “If the polls look like there’s a decent chance that Donald could win, I’ll put a huge hedge on that’s over 100% of my equity positions… that protects me just in case he wins.”

In addition to many analysts predicting a drop, the stock market itself seemed to be indicating the same thing. When FBI director James Comey  announced on October 28th, that he had reopened an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server, the betting markets reacted favorably to Trump winning, but the stock market reacted negatively, with the S&P 500 sharply reversing gains and dropping almost 1% intraday. Even more starkly, on election night itself, as results started pouring in showing key states falling to Trump, DOW futures fell as much as 750 points.

Given this information, many investors may have had the inclination to feel uneasy about the performance of the equity markets following the election. Those that reacted to this emotion may have sold stocks and moved their money to cash or bonds. Unfortunately for those that made this decision, the prevailing market predictions of downward volatility proved to be unfounded; in fact just the opposite occurred. From November 1st through the end of the year, equity markets had a substantial growth period, with the S&P rising 5.75%. However, while this is most certainly a fine return over 2 months, investors who diversified their portfolio beyond just U.S. large stocks may have seen even greater returns. Small cap stocks as represented by the Russell 2000 rose 14.27%. But not to be outdone, the Russell 2000 Value, an index of small value stocks, increased 17.95%.

Hopefully investors will remember this period of time not just because of the election result, but as a great lesson that trying to predict the short term move of the stock market – even when it may seem so evidently clear that it will move a certain way – can be folly and cost you  dearly.

In the end, choosing a wise financial strategy – and sticking to it – can have tremendous impact on an investor’s long term financial health. Chasing performance through buying and selling is a risky game. Historically speaking, it will only reduce an investor’s real return. Relying on unbiased, non-emotional advice from a trusted investor coach to make good decisions can help an investor bridge that gap between what the average investor makes and the return of the market.”

By Jimmy Hancock


  1. Matson Money. “Account Statement.” Letter to James Hancock. 16 Jan. 2017. MS. N.p.
  2. The Financial Markets Have Accepted a Trump Presidency. Digital image. Au.anygator.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Jan. 2017.

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