July 2012 Investment Strategy

After gaining 24.5% in the six months from September 30th through March 30th, the market underwent a correction, declining nearly 10% during April and May. This was followed by the best June since 1999, as the market gained 4%. At the mid-way point, 2012 has played out much like the last two years with strong economic numbers through the winter, but tapering off starting in April. In addition, the European debt crisis is once again a focal point for the media and frightened investors. In contrast with Europe, U.S. growth has been firmly positive, but frustratingly slow. Importantly, the U.S. housing market has clearly stabilized in most markets and activity is finally beginning to pick up. A healthier housing market could become a major positive force for the economy and employment. Another positive factor is much lower commodity prices. Commodity prices have reacted to slower growth in Asia, most importantly in China. Overall, investors continue to gravitate to U.S.-based assets because of a healthier economic outlook and greater safety during uncertain times.

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