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Condor Capital Reviews 1st Quarter 2020

The first quarter of 2020 was a difficult time for financial markets and the world more broadly.  In addition to the medical toll, the sweeping pandemic known as the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, and the shutdown it created shuttered small businesses, disrupted global supply chains, stunted demand for goods, and caused unemployment to spike.  For the stock market, the result was a decline of 19.6% as measured by the S&P 500 Index. While the market did rally and rebound sharply in the quarter’s final two weeks, the first three months of 2020 still ended as the worst on record since 1987.  Meanwhile, the CBOE Volatility Index, a common measure of market volatility informally known as the VIX, tripled before calming during the late-quarter rally. While no area of the stock market was immune from this broader selloff, healthcare, technology, and the most defensive sectors like utilities and consumer staples held up relatively better.  On the other hand, the energy sector was by far the worst hit, as a March falling out between major oil producers Saudi Arabia and Russia sent oil prices plunging as low as $20 per barrel. Frustrated by Russia’s unwillingness to agree to production cuts, the Saudis vowed to price the Russians out of the market, leading oil markets to post their largest one-day decline since the Gulf War.

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Condor Capital Reviews 4th Quarter 2019

Financial markets finished the year near all-time highs, wrapping up a decade marked almost exclusively by bull markets.  The S&P 500 Index gained another 9.06% in the fourth quarter, resulting in an overall gain of 31.48% for the U.S. benchmark in 2019.  While it should be noted that this stellar year came off a low base thanks to a relatively large market downturn in December 2018, it still proved to be a year of strong economic growth and multiple expansion, with markets resilient against trade and political uncertainties.  As was often the case in 2019, growth stocks outperformed their value counterparts in the fourth quarter, though the gap between the two did narrow in the second half of the year.  Healthcare and technology stocks significantly outpaced many other sectors, while real estate and utilities lagged notably.  Small-caps finished the quarter as the top performers, followed by large-caps and then mid-caps.

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