April 21, 2023
In quite an eventful start to the year, stocks started off on a positive note. The largest companies in the US (S&P 500) were up over 7.5% for the first three months of the year with technology companies (Nasdaq 100) leading the way up over 20.8% on a total return basis. Foreign stocks as measured by the MSCI EAFE Index outperformed the S&P 500 on a total return basis, rising 8.6%. Interestingly, the underperformers of 2022 became the outperformers in the first quarter. The performance of the non-profitable tech areas, like the infamous ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK), exceeded that of the cash flow kings and dividend payers as renewed optimism for a soft landing and declining inflation expectations took hold and investors felt confident after growth in the fourth quarter of 2022 was robust.