March Madness usually refers to the annual NCAA College Basketball Tournament. This March, however, that moniker could be extended to some other events as well, such as the recent string of firings in the White House or the three late winter storms hitting the East Coast.
After spending February comforting clients, March has been somewhat less stressful so far for many advisors, as the markets have quickly recovered a good portion of their losses. But beware the Ides of March and the second half of the month.
What could derail this now 9-year old bull market?
- While most stock indices did fall into correction mode, most market watchers will tell you that we need to go back and reach those lows one more time before the worst will be over. Or will this time be different?
- While the markets have largely ignored the Russia investigation, indications that we are drawing closer to the end, and rumors that the investigation has spread could spook the markets at a moments notice.
- While most market watchers expect the Fed to raise short-term interest rates at its meeting next week, any new signs that inflation is back would not be well received in the markets (as they were not in February either).
I mention these points not to scare you, but to remind you that the recent rally may not be sustainable and that the volatility of February - +/- multiple hundred point days on the Dow - are likely to return.
Client service is about keeping clients level-headed during good times as well as bad. Better to re-reinforce the points mentioned above and prepare clients now, then to wait and get those dreaded panic telephone calls.