The S&P 500 Index returned a modest +0.3% during the second quarter of 2015 and is now up +1.2% since the beginning of the year. Growth and value performed similarly during the quarter but value stocks have lagged considerably over the past 12 months. Typically, such environments present a headwind for our value-focused strategy but we have managed to navigate the past twelve months satisfactorily considering the circumstances. Naturally, however, we would welcome a value tailwind which our experience has taught us should inevitably emerge in due course.
The economic perils in Greece have reemerged as an important concern that is giving investors pause. The good news is that Greece is small, representing about 2% of the total economic output of all countries that use the euro as their currency. The primary risk for equity investors is that a Greek exit from the Eurozone sets a new precedent, and investors may ponder the possibility that a larger European economy (e.g. Italy, Spain) may share a similar fate if/when stressed, which could trigger economic turmoil throughout the region. Thus far, the market appears to perceive the Greece situation as largely quarantined—government bond spreads for other European periphery countries have remained relatively tight versus the German Bund. Nonetheless, we are monitoring the situation closely and have evaluated in detail each of our positions’ exposure to changes in the value of the dollar; we remain confident that we are not bearing unnecessary risk. Continue Reading »