Happy New Year! First and foremost, I would like to wish everyone a very happy, safe, and healthy start to 2022. We have much to reflect upon over the last 12-months, but that is the past and we now must look forward into what the next year will bring. We certainly saw a convincing and upwards trend as the year ended with the S&P 500 closing near record levels and surpassing the tech heavy NASDAQ exchange from a performance standpoint. The Federal Reserve, with its highly accommodative fiscal and monetary policies, kept fuel on the fire throughout the year as the recovery continued. We know the circumstances will look much different in the coming months as those policies start to evolve and inflation measures begin to take place. I suspect that volatility and asset class rotation will be a strong theme over the next few quarters and the positive take away is that the markets are already preparing for such changes. We have experienced tremendous growth over the last 3 years and seeing a slow-down should be considered warranted at this point in the cycle. In other words, slower growth, and lower returns from what we have experienced recently should not come as a big surprise.
These potential changes in our financial outlook also create potential opportunities. As I have discussed before, the international and emerging markets have yet to recover in any significant way. Rebuilding and infrastructure needs globally will continue to expand as the rest of the world emerges from their Covid hibernations. While America remains at the center of the consumption and spending engine, production and labor needs across the globe continue to broaden. Our spending has helped to lift others in places where a little can often go a long way. Our domestic growth may slow, but our needs and wants will remain, just perhaps more measured. Again, this is OK!
For many of us, the year ended with “altered” plans as the Omicron variant took a stronger hold and had a large impact across the country. Our new reality is that we are learning to adapt and simply move forward as best we can. The guidelines and outlook from a Covid perspective will continue to evolve as the scientist of our great Nation and world gather and analyze more data. Working from home as needed, wearing masks, and taking precautions are a part of our daily routines at this point. Yet, through all of this, our resiliency and willingness to adapt is at the core of what makes us all human. I find this to be very encouraging as we turn the page on 2021 and look towards a brighter year ahead.
As Eddie Murphy once famously said, “Merry New Year”!