Monthly Commentary

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October 2012

Over the past year, markets defied a steady diet of financial Armageddon news to deliver healthy returns, but today risks such as softness in U.S. manufacturing, counterbalanced by aggressive monetary stimulus, compete for attention as investors attempt to distinguish between prudent risk con¬trol and outright risk avoidance.

September 2012

Global risks make headlines, but fundamentals and tectonic shifts such as global trade are the pillars of economic growth that support market resilience and — so far — a tireless bull market.

August 2012

How many asset classes are negative for the year through July? Would it surprise you to learn that all ten of the leading asset classes were positive for the year? The equity market is having its best start since 2003 and its second best since 1998-with fixed income having one of its best years ever.

This performance in the face of widespread negative perceptions demonstrates the importance of the market signals ING Chief Market Strategist Doug Coté has been stressing all along. In this month's ING Global Perspectives commentary, Market Climbs the Wall of Worry to Watch July Fireworks , he takes a closer look at "the risk gap," the inordinate fear of any risky asset class that can cause sidelined investors to miss out on the returns generated by the ABCDs of fundamentals:

  • Advancing Corporate Profits - Q2 earnings growth has once again confounded Wall Street, up for the 12th consecutive quarter.
  • Broadening Manufacturing - Two monthly dips after 34 straight months of expansion is a signal we're watching closely for future trends.
  • Consumer Strength Underestimated - Personal income rose in July, the savings rate increased to 4.4%, and housing prices increased for the second consecutive month.
  • Developing Economies are Driving Global Growth - In 2001 less than half the global economic growth came from "developing countries" like China; today it's nearly 80%.
July 2012

Although the second quarter ended in the red, June showed that being in the equity markets matters and that a broad, globally diversified portfolio can build wealth with relatively safe returns.

In this month’s ING Global Perspectives commentary, ING Chief Market Strategist Doug Cote discusses the “Risk Gap” which is what investors don’t own leading to upside risk – forfeiting exceptional returns when mired in “safe” assets. As always, investors should continue to focus on the ABCDs of fundamentals:

  • Advancing Corporate Profits - Profits for Q1 2012 increased 6% over Q1 2011.
  • Broadening Manufacturing - The U.S. ISM manufacturing index slipped to 49.7% in June, the first slip into contraction territory in 35 months.
  • Consumer Strength Underestimated - Consumers took a slight breather as a 2.2% decrease in gasoline purchases pulled May retail sales down.
  • Developing Economies are Driving Global Growth - The 2012 A.T. Kearney Global Retail Development Index ranks four Latin American counties in the top 10 for global retail expansion opportunities.

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June 2012

In this month’s commentary, ING Chief Market Strategist Doug Coté stresses the key factors investors should know to ride out this temporary market volatility.

  • For the third straight year, a Euro-crisis hit markets in May, causing uncertainty and doubt to overshadow fundamentals
  • What’s needed today is a disciplined plan that protects portfolios from losses but does not overreact and send investors prematurely to the exits
  • Earnings growth, a dependable fundamental signal for both buying and selling, remains positive — the U.S. is slowly but surely moving forward
  • Ample rewards await those who maintain a diversified global portfolio and stay focused on long-term goals

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May 2012

The bears grew hopeful early in the month, as global markets were spooked by events in the euro zone: Spain briefly brought back fears of bailout Armageddon, the Dutch government collapsed, and PMI numbers for the region came in weaker than expected. April Fools! The bull market remains intact and offers compelling value for those looking to build wealth.

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April 2012

We just wrapped up the best first quarter since 1998, volatility has dropped to almost boring levels, fundamentals are relentlessly marching forward and global risks appear to have returned to a more normal state.

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March 2012

After matching its stellar January performance in February, the S&P 500 Index is off to its best start since 1991. The Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed the psychologically important 13,000 mark, a level not seen since May 2008.

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February 2012

January’s surge may have surprised many observers, but not Douglas Coté, Chief Market Strategist, ING Investment Management U.S., who has long advocated, even in the face of headline global risks, that the market’s path ultimately comes down to the strength of its underlying fundamentals.

In this month’s ING Global Perspectives commentary, Global Markets Rally on Moderating Global Risk and Positive Fundamentals, Doug revisits the "ABCDs" of fundamentals:

  • Advancing Corporate Profits: For each of the past ten quarters, more than 70% of S&P 500 companies have delivered positive earnings surprises.
  • Broadening Manufacturing: The ISM manufacturing index has expanded for 30 consecutive months.
  • Consumer Strength Underestimated: December brought monthly retail sales to their highest level ever, north of $400 billion.
  • Developing Economies: Emerging market growth continues to be a key catalyst for U.S. corporate revenue.

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January 2012

2011 will be marked as a year where global risks battled daily with market fundamentals with volatility as the result. While global risks are by no means gone, the market’s path ultimately comes down to the strength of the underlying fundamentals.

With that in mind, be sure to read the ING Global Perspectives 2012 Forecast, where ING Chief Market Strategist Douglas Coté provides important points to help investors stay focused on market fundamentals in 2012. He discusses the key drivers of global return, the risks to look out for, and provides detailed market, economic and asset class forecasts for the coming year.

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