The first quarter of 2016 was flat in some places and down slightly in others, but we doubt most investors remember it that way. The carnage in January was harsh, and daily volatility has been high, so many likely think of it as a rough three months. Yet the last half of the quarter largely recouped the losses from the first half. Among the three broad indexes tracking our asset classes, one was up a small amount and the other two were down. U.S. large caps were up a small amount. On the other hand, domestic small caps slipped a bit and foreign stocks were down. When U.S. large caps are up while U.S. small caps and foreign stocks retreat, we generally think it says more about sentiment than economics. That is, U.S. large caps are seen as providing stability whereas small caps and foreign stocks are seen as more risky. The discrepancy between domestic value and growth indexes says the same. That is, growth indexes from the large-, mid-, and small- cap universe ranged from less than +1% up to down nearly -5%, while the value counterparts were up more than +1% to +4%. For more than a year investor sentiment has gone up and down without a strong trend.
This quarter, Ariel Discovery Fund rose +2.20%, ahead of the Russell 2000 Value Index’s +1.70% gain, as well as the +1.35% rise of the S&P 500 Index. Continue Reading »