The events of March seemed to confirm that 2012 will be a much less nerve-racking year than investors have had to endure in the recent path. That doesn’t mean the advance has been free from anxiety: debate about whether the stock market rebound in the United States may have outpaced the recovery in the underlying economy increased steadily as the month progressed, while unease about the health of the European financial system remains a constant. In the following series of charts, we hope you’ll find additional insight into what has already taken place, and contribute to your analysis as the second quarter kicks off this week. All charts here.
Guest post by Doug Short.
The S&P 500 closed the day with a modest gain of 0.37%, breaking a three-day losing streak. But the financial media was quick to point out that this is the best quarterly gain in the index (and the Dow) since 1998.
In honor of this achievement, I’ve added a chart below, courtesy of BigCharts.com, to illustrate the quarterly behavior of the S&P 500 since the mid-1990s — hardly a random walk!
The index gained 0.81% for the week and an even 12.00% for the quarter.
From an intermediate perspective, the S&P 500 is 108.2% above the March 2009 closing low and 10.0% below the nominal all-time high of October 2007.
Last year we saw low volatility, high volatility, greed and fear play out. With the average hedge fund down in 2011, there were some exceptional value makers. Forbes reports;
For most hedge fund managers, 2011 was a year to forget. The average hedge fund fell by 5% even as the U.S. stock market eked out a tiny gain. Big shot investors like billionaire John Paulson were humbled and lost massive amounts of money. Yet even in a down year, arguably its worst ever, the hedge fund industry demonstrated its unmatched ability to make people rich.
No hedge fund titan made more in 2011 than Raymond Dalio. The founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s biggest hedge fund firm, made an estimated $3 billion in 2011 as his funds produced net returns in the 20% range. As a result, Dalio tops Forbes’ list of the 40 highest-earning hedge fund managers of 2011. Full article here.