The stock market took a severe beating in the third quarter, declining by nearly 14%. Continued concerns about Europe and political and economic uncertainties in the United States made the stock market’s third quarter chart look like a fast twitch cardiogram.
At this point, while the macroeconomic data increasingly points to the likelihood of a recession, the data, at least in my opinion, is not yet conclusive. I believe the domestic economy has entered a prolonged period of “slow growth for as far as the eyes can see,” a rate of growth that lends itself to “stall speed” thinking where we are always and everywhere just an inch away from a negative year over year growth rate.
This “New Normal”, marked by low nominal rates of growth and a higher than usual unemployment rate, heightens anxiety levels simply because it isn’t what we’re used to. Better leadership in Washington could help, but nothing will cure us like the passage of time and a good old fashioned work ethic.
For additional details on our firm’s strong performance results, our investment outlook, and related disclosures, please read the attached Third Quarter 2011 Commentary & Performance.