I hope you have enjoyed well-deserved holiday celebrations with family and friends and a break from normal tasks! Have you pondered resolutions about spending and saving plans (a/k/a budget) exercising, or the wonderful eating plan (a/k/a diet!)? If so, I am right there with you! In my traditional year-end wrap up, I would like to briefly touch on three topics.
In terms of financial markets, I had projected an “up” year for 2014, yet I am shocked that we didn’t have a temporary correction (drop of 10%-20% over a few months). While I put the likelihood of a correction at 50% for 2014, I think that a correction has a 70% chance of occurring sometime in 2015. March 9, 2015 will mark the 6th anniversary of this bull market. Having said all of that, I don’t know anyone who can accurately time stock market corrections, so we will continue to follow our modified endowment model, and take advantage of any market slumps by rebalancing and dollar cost averaging into the dips. I continue to be a fan of Brian Wesburys’ price to earnings ratio over the 10 year treasury. That model continues to forecast room for an advancing stock market. Hello DOW 18,000, and 20,000, here we come.
Falling energy prices have accomplished much of what I had hoped the President would do in terms of strengthening ties with Europe, and forcing accommodation with Russia from the Ukraine to Iran. By using our trend toward energy independence through our newly restored leadership in the production of oil and natural gas, we can both promote democracy around the world by strengthening our allies, and challenging hegemony from undemocratic autocrats. Reduced production in the US shale plays over the next 6-12 months and increasing demand from improving economic growth in the US and elsewhere will likely cause prices to recover in the second half of 2015. In the meantime, lower energy prices will reduce the costs for new drilling and help stocks surge.
At AOG, we used 2014 to add three new full-time employees, and we hope to add three more positions in 2015. In addition to revamping our client service procedures, we have significantly strengthened our due diligence, investment analysis and investment committee operations. With the purchase of additional office space located to the left of our main entrance in December, we hope to have remodeling complete by the end of January. The additional space will accommodate our planned expansion. We had record growth in 2014, largely due to your continued referral of our firm to friends, family and colleagues. We intend to continue to manage our growth and to serve you even better in the future by tactically adding new personnel assets and growing existing staff through education, training and additional certifications. We want to continue to enhance our capabilities in order to improve our advice and service. I thank you for allowing us to serve you during 2014 and in the coming years.