If 2014 is anything like the year that just passed, investors will have lots to cheer. YTD returns (through 12/20/13) of 23.8% and 27.5% for the Dow and S&P 500 respectively have propelled those indices to historic highs. The Nasdaq composite, fueled by a YTD return of 35.9%, sits comfortably above 4,000 - a level last seen in September 2000 as the late 90s tech bubble rapidly unwound. The Russell 2000 (as represented by IWM) is up 35.1% YTD, handily outperforming its large cap peers. Perhaps most significantly, the outsized gains of the past year have been achieved with minimal volatility.
Not that all asset classes experienced a smooth ride over the past year. Gold is down nearly 30% on the year while silver has shed more than a third of its value. Emerging market equities are also down nearly 10% on the year (as measured by the MSCI EM index) while yields on the 10-year treasury have risen to nearly 3% on tapering fears that have finally begun to be realized as Ben Bernanke winds down his term at the Fed.
From a macroeconomic perspective, the U.S. economy continues to keep its head above water but systemic risks remain. Washington remains marred by intense gridlock while geopolitical risks from abroad threaten to send global markets into shock. And yet there are also hopeful signs pointing to a new-found pragmatism on Capitol Hill and the continued push towards freer markets in much of the world.
Investing, like so much in life, is measured in seemingly arbitrary units of time. We measure returns in days, months and years - yet the returns that usually matter most are those that take place over generations and lifetimes, hopefully allowing us to reach our financial goals and focus on what's truly important.
Here at Seeking Alpha we recognize just how difficult it is for investors to successfully navigate the current investing landscape and reach their unique financial goals and we want to do our part to help. As in previous years, we have asked experts on a range of asset classes and investing strategies to offer their vision for the coming year - and how investors can best position their portfolios to meet any challenges they may face in 2014 and beyond.
Here's wishing all of our readers health, happiness and success in the new year.
Below you will find the series, listed alphabetically according to topic, with new articles added as soon as they appear on the site.
Broad Portfolio Construction Strategy: Jeff Miller Positions For 2014: Another Solid Year For Stocks Ahead
Dividend Growth Investing: Dave Van Knapp Positions For 2014: The Best Dividend Growth Stocks Will Pay Out More This Year
Global Equities: Roger Nusbaum Positions For 2014: Starting To Take Defensive Action
Gold and Precious Metals: Eric Parnell Positions For 2014: The Payoff In Precious Metals Has Enormous Potential
Portfolio Construction With ETFs: Gary Gordon Positions For 2014: Sticking With ETFs Capable Of Handling Deflationary Scares