long stretch of unusual calm in the stock market gave way to a
succession of violent swings in the third quarter as investors worried
that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates at last and then
were disappointed — after the briefest spurt of euphoria — when the Fed
The net result was the worst quarter in four years, and some strategists
predicted further trouble ahead.
“This doesn’t end happily,” said Komal S. Sri-Kumar, president of
Sri-Kumar Global Strategies, an investment consulting firm. “2016 looks
like a volatile and pretty difficult year for markets in the United
States and around the globe.”
“这种走向不太好，” 投资咨询公司斯里库玛全球策略(Sri-Kumar Global Strategies)的总裁科玛尔·斯里-库马尔(Komal
It was certainly a difficult quarter. The Standard & Poor’s
500-stock index lost 6.9 percent in the three months through September,
closing at 1,920, roughly where the benchmark stood in May of last year.
Treasury prices rose as their yields fell during the quarter, with the
return on the benchmark 10-year note dropping to 2.04 percent from 2.35
percent at the end of the previous quarter. Treasuries are often a safe
harbor during turbulent market conditions, and with the Fed maintaining
its target for short-term rates at zero to 0.25 percent, as it has for
nearly a decade, traders saw no reason to expect the outlook for
long-term rates to change anytime soon.
The Fed’s action, or absence of it, on Sept. 17 and accompanying remarks
were as benign as investors possibly could have imagined. The central
bank, in its statement and in the news conference held by its
chairwoman, Janet L. Yellen, highlighted a slightly diminished emphasis
on domestic economic growth and inflation and a more pronounced concern
about developments abroad.
美联储9月17日维持利率的决定以及相应的评论，在投资者看来是极为良性的。通过其声明以及珍妮特·L·耶伦(Janet L. Yellen)主席的新闻发布会，美联储略微减少了对国内经济增长和通货膨胀的强调，而对海外形势表示了更多的关切。
If Wall Street seems unwilling to take yes for an answer, investment
advisers say, it’s because the Fed’s welcome caution in raising rates is
more than offset by the fact that the Fed sees so much to be cautious
“The market didn’t expect a rate hike, and it didn’t get one,” said
Katie Nixon, chief investment officer for wealth management at Northern
Trust. “The problem is the tone of the minutes and press conference that
suggested the Fed is worried more about the global growth outlook than
previously. That’s really spooking the market.”
Laird R. Landmann, co-head of fixed income at the TCW fund-management
company, agreed that central bankers were unnerving investors and
suggested that they might have given themselves the jitters, too.
TCW基金管理公司固定收益业务联席主管莱尔德·R·兰德曼(Laird R. Landmann)认同央行令投资者感到不安这一观点，并表示央行自己也许也被吓到了。
“There’s a mind-set that has developed at the Fed where they’re waiting
for a perfect moment that never comes,” he said.
With or without the Fed’s help, enough happened in the third quarter to
leave owners of stock funds feeling a bit twitchy. The average domestic
portfolio fell 7.8 percent, according to Morningstar, led lower by
specialists in energy and other natural resources, communications and
Looking at a broad array of American economic indicators, it’s hard to
see what investors are afraid of. The United States is a paragon of
growth, at least by the tepid standards of the last decade, especially
the job market. The unemployment rate is hovering just above 5 percent,
and the number of job openings hit 5.8 million in July, the most since
the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics began reporting the figure in
of Labor Statistics)开始报告该数据以来的最高值。
“There are yellow lights flashing out there in terms of the global
economy, but there’s no deterioration in the U.S. economy,” said Stephen
E. Kylander, manager of the RBC Mid Cap Value fund.
“全球经济在闪黄灯，但美国经济并未走弱，”加拿大皇家银行中盘价值基金(RBC Mid Cap Value)经理斯蒂芬·E·屈兰德(Stephen
That should be good news for small and medium-size companies. They
depend on foreign markets for a smaller proportion of their sales than
big companies do, but they benefit just as much from lower interest
rates. Yet mid- and small-capitalization funds underperformed in the
third quarter: Midcap portfolios lost 9.4 percent and small caps lost
Shareholders in international stock funds used the third quarter mainly
as an opportunity to sell, driving the average one down 10 percent.
Europe displayed newfound stability over the summer as Greece ceased to
be an urgent problem for the moment, but that was more than offset by
deteriorating conditions in emerging markets. Funds that specialize in
Latin America, Asia and diversified emerging markets had average losses
of 12.8 percent or more.
Chinese stocks had an awful quarter; funds that focus on the country
plunged 20.9 percent. The economic malaise there continued and may have
contributed to the decline in American stocks and the limited relief
experienced when the Fed stood pat.
Persistent money flows out of China forced its central bank in August to
sell nearly $94 billion of foreign-currency reserves, much of it held in
United States Treasuries, to try to prop up the currency, the renminbi.
That would have produced an effect opposite to quantitative easing — the
Fed’s substantial purchases of Treasury bonds that began during the
financial crisis, ended about a year ago and are widely seen to have
benefited stocks along the way.
China is a huge exporter, and with the decline in the renminbi it has
begun to export deflation to other developing countries, forcing them
into a difficult, maybe hopeless, position. If they weaken their
currencies to match the renminbi devaluation, the burden of their
immense dollar-denominated debt will grow when expressed in their own
currencies. If they keep their currencies relatively strong, however,
their exports will become less competitive.
“There is no room for them to maneuver,” Mr. Sri-Kumar said. He expects
the developing countries to devalue, even if it leads to credit
downgrades, defaults and difficulty in refinancing debt for corporate
and government borrowers.
If those countries slow because of this crisis, “eventually it’s going
to reverberate back to the United States,” he said.
Mr. Sri-Kumar predicted a year ago that the Fed would hold rates steady
this year, and fragility in the developing world has persuaded him to
extend his forecast through 2016. That could leave the stock market in a
bad spot, in his view, as investors, desensitized to the putative
benefits of ultra-easy monetary policy after nearly a decade, sell into
any short-lived rally after the Fed postpones a rate increase, as it did
Rebecca H. Patterson, chief investment officer of Bessemer Trust, a firm
that advises wealthy families, expects a shorter wait for the Fed to
为富裕家庭提供咨询的公司贝西默信托(Bessemer Trust)首席投资官丽贝卡·帕特森(Rebecca H.
“The Fed is still looking at raising interest rates at some point in the
coming months,” she said.
Ms. Patterson encourages investors to have a relatively heavy allocation
in American stocks while they wait, particularly in financial services
and consumer discretionary companies, and remain light in emerging
markets and energy. She would also be comparatively light in bonds,
although she finds mortgage-backed securities to be sound bets, she
said, because they are less sensitive to rising rates and she detects
consistent improvement in the housing market.
Ms. Nixon at Northern Trust has a similar view of American and emerging
markets: heavy in the first, light in the second. She also advocates a
more modest than usual bond allocation. As for the Fed, it “wants to get
off the zero,” she said, but “the job isn’t going to get any easier”
given the global backdrop. So “if the Fed hikes, it may be one and
done,” she said.
But with rates so low, Mr. Landmann cautioned, if conditions deteriorate
in China and elsewhere and begin to weigh more heavily on the American
economy and markets, there will be little the Fed can do. For six years,
investors have bought stocks after declines. Now might be a good time to
sell after rallies, he advised.
“If you’re a conservative, value-oriented investor, when prices go up
you want to use it as an opportunity to take risk out of your
portfolio,” he said. “Asset prices can’t stay high forever. There may be
decent returns for the next quarter as the Fed stays on hold, but even
that won’t work after a while. The rest of the world may take matters
into their own hands. It may not matter what the Fed does.”