The year 2016 set a record in January for the largest Dow points drop ever for the month, though larger percentage decreases have occurred. The correction bottomed by February 15th, down nearly 15%.(1) By the quarter’s end, most losses had been recovered, except in the NASDAQ, bio techs, and our Top Stocks. For example, IBB, a biotech I-share held in many of our accounts, had lost 22% by the end of the quarter.1
So, as a whole, we underperformed our benchmarks by about 1.5%. We are confident this shortfall will be more than recouped by year-end. On the other hand, conservative accounts holding long-term bonds and bond funds did very well as investors fled to safe havens in the midst of all the volatility. For over five years strategists have avoided long-term bonds and they could not have been more wrong; interest rates have remained low.
A lovely client of ours passed away this quarter at age 90. At age 87 she traveled to South Africa for two weeks, spent a week ministering with an Indian tribe in the Dakotas, and took a bus tour through Maine and Vermont enjoying the fall colors. Yes, she lived life to its fullest and we cherished her spirit here in our office.
Also that year, she sent us a couple of pages of her favorite thoughts on life. I have been unable to find the sources, though she may well have authored them herself. She was coy and aloof when I asked about authorship just last year. Nevertheless, after a difficult investing quarter following a non-performing 2015, I wanted to share her insights on “Growing Young.” May you enjoy a glimpse of her spirit.
“It is as possible to grow young as it is to grow old. This is the distinctive privilege of the human being, a privilege shared by no other living creature. Ability to grow young is the crowning glory of man.
Youth is not a term of years; it is a state of mind. To be young is to possess a spontaneity and flow of emotion, a liveliness of imagination, a potency of will. Youth means freshness in the depths of the spirit. Your body is as old as your arteries; your mind is as young as your own life’s aspirations; and your mind is you.
You will not grow old by living long, but by the loss of interest, the lowering of ideals, and the waning of enthusiasm. Time wrinkles the skin, but moroseness and cynicism wrinkle the soul. They rob the spirit of vitality and doom it to decrepitude.
If there is in you a growing capacity for sweet wonder, an increasing appreciation for the beauty of the world, a rising enthusiasm for the challenge of events, a deepening desire for knowledge, a mounting gratitude for the tender mercies of God, you are surely and steadily growing young. You will be younger next year than you are now.
You are as young as your hopes,
as old as your fears;
As young as your songs,
as old as your sighs;
As young as your raptures,
as old as your rebellions;
As young as your love,
as old as your will to hate.
Not until your enthusiasms perish can you ever grow old. We know the “rules” of growing young. Help us maintain our enthusiasms.
Without them our spirits will grow old and we will be enveloped by the darkest of clouds that not even a day filled with sunshine will be able to penetrate.”
Thank you, Gerry
(1)Market information provided by Thomson Financial.
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