2016 was a bumpy ride and ended up with our managers up for the year in both the equities and bond portions of portfolios. It was the small and mid-cap stocks that led the way this year, with the large cap stocks following. For the full year, the S&P 500 increased 11.95%. The Russell 2000 (small caps) grew by 21.28% as compared to the Russell 1000 (large caps), which saw a 12.04% increase. The Russell 3000 Value Index increased by 18.38% and easily outpaced the 7.38% gain achieved by the Russell 3000 Growth Index.
International stocks finished up as well, with developed international stocks increased 5.00% and emerging market stocks were up 11.27%.
The bonds also had a good year with the Barclays Aggregate Index posted a 2.65% gain. Treasuries and municipals had more modest advances of 1.04% and 0.25%, respectively. As is often the case in periods when interest rates increase, high yield bonds easily outpaced these indices and increased by 17.13%.
Out tactical managers were able to position our portfolios to capture these categories and also are prepared to make changes needed in 2017 to help protect the gains we have if necessary.
Overall the outlook for 2017 is a bullish one, with the Trump effect panning out in the markets, especially in our US companies. Rising oil prices seem to help and our employment numbers are the best they have been in many years.
Our office added Kyle Zurbriggen to our team. He is helping in our customer service and back office support tasks for now as well as completing his last few months of his business degree online. Our plan is to have him obtain licensing after his graduation in the summer and for him to be a registered representative on our team by fall.
It was a challenging and rewarding year at home. Lilly and Annie were able to be reunited with their Mom, brother and sister in her home in June. It was very hard to see them go after living with us for 2 years, but I was very happy for them and for their Mom. It is awesome to see God at work in changing lives and healing people. We kind of switched rolls with their Mom and now we get to visit the girls every week or two and they get to come over for sleep overs when they can.
We gained a teenage girl who is now 16, in February, who is still with us and is doing well, a 10-year-old girl in October, who is still with us and is doing well. We also had two other teenage girls for a few days and weeks, earlier in the year. Evette and I have learned to trust in the Lord with all things and He seems to make it all work out.
Kyle moved back to our island in October, back from his one year of missionary work in Atlanta and Brazil. It is great to have him back again! Our son Derick is back up in Illinois, working and living in the suburbs of Chicago and was there when the Cubs won! We miss seeing him more.
Life is good and I believe 2017 will be an amazing year for us all!