Global markets since early March have continued to trade with a mildly cautious tone following strong gains of the past year. A period of consolidation should be expected as profit-taking sets in, economic forecasts catch up to the recent firming in activity data, anticipated timelines for President Trump’s pro-growth legislative agenda lengthen and geo-political noise picks up on a multitude of fronts. Given this bout of market volatility has been quite mild (S&P500: -2%; TSX: -1.7% from their late February – early March peaks) and orderly thus far, there is scope for further modest consolidation over the remainder of the second quarter within the normal bounds of this late-stage bull market. To be sure, economic fundamentals remain on solid footing with the global recovery broadening out to Europe and Asia with particularly encouraging data out of China in recent weeks. Thus, the medium-term backdrop for global markets remains constructive and we see any second quarter market pullback as an attractive opportunity to put cash to work.
As a wealth advisor, a vital part of what I do is to understand – and deal with – a condition known as ‘behavioural investing’ – an awareness of the human biases that can often influence a client’s decision-making. Sometimes these biases are expressed quietly, even surreptitiously. On other occasions, they can be quite explosive.
Stephen Horan, head of Professional Education Content and Private Wealth for the prestigious CFA Institute, has this to say about the issue: ‘Most advisors have faced a situation where a client wants to change the strategic asset allocation of a portfolio during a period of great market stress. Behavioural investing allows advisors to better understand client behaviour and improve communication strategies in order to avoid poor decision-making and deepen client relationships.’