CGM Focus Fund increased 2.0% during the second quarter of 2014 compared to a return of 5.2% for the unmanaged Standard and Poor’s 500 Index over the same period. For the first six months of the year, CGM Focus Fund returned -0.3% and the unmanaged Standard and Poor’s 500 Index, 7.1%. In late June, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released a revised estimate for first quarter 2014 gross domestic product which indicated negative growth of 2.9%. Severe winter weather in much of the country was at least partially to blame, along with a late-falling Easter holiday though some pundits and media outlets were quick to predict a return to recession. However, data for the second quarter of 2014—specifically in housing and auto sales—suggests a rebound in economic growth.
In fact, with the arrival of milder weather as early as March, the economy began to pick up. The Institute of Supply Management’s manufacturing index rose to 53.7 from 53.2 in February, and March employment numbers clocked in at a respectable 192,000 jobs added. Inflation remained relatively benign with the Consumer Price Index rising a slight 0.2% in March and 0.3% in April. On the first Friday in May, April employment numbers were released with 288,000 jobs reportedly added. The following month, May new job numbers were made public and the addition of 217,000 new hires, in our view, effectively dismissed many of the winter fears of a returning recession. Continue Reading »