Close this search box.

A Hard Road

Three years of less-than-stellar financial market performance.

It’s been a tough slog for investors over roughly the past three years, with most corners of the market offering little to nothing in the way of gains. Over that period, of course, interest rates have soared, corporate earnings have been stagnant overall, and valuations have fallen.

Consider that, since December 31, 2020:

  • Bonds are down a whopping -16.5%.
  • A balanced global portfolio of 60% stocks/40% bonds is down -5.4%.
  • Global stocks are up a mere 6.1%—and, as seen in the chart, it’s been a rough ride to get there.
Source: Bloomberg, as of 10/31/2023

Financial market gains have been exceedingly tough to come by over the past few years, regardless of how you’ve invested among traditional asset classes. The brutal downturn seen in 2022—the worst year for stocks since 2008 and the worst year on record for bonds—has meant that many asset classes are still trying to claw their way out of a historically deep hole. In particular, relatively conservative or “balanced” investors have taken it on the chin, as bonds’ significant underperformance has actually exacerbated equity market declines rather than offset them.

Of course, market weakness over short periods, such as two or three years, is common. What’s more, the robust economic growth numbers we’ve seen lately (e.g., nearly 5% GDP growth in the third quarter and strong consumer spending) could set the stage for a substantial upswing in the coming months as more investors appreciate the economy’s continued resilience.


This commentary is written by Horizon Investments’ asset management team.
Past performance is not indicative of future results.
Nothing contained herein should be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security. This report does not attempt to examine all the facts and circumstances that may be relevant to any company, industry, or security mentioned herein. We are not soliciting any action based on this document. It is for the general information of clients of Horizon Investments, LLC (“Horizon”). This document does not constitute a personal recommendation or take into account the particular investment objectives, financial situations, or needs of individual clients. Before acting on any analysis, advice, or recommendation in this document, clients should consider whether the security in question is suitable for their particular circumstances and, if necessary, seek professional advice. Investors may realize losses on any investments. The Bloomberg Aggregate Bond Index is a broad base, market capitalization-weighted bond market index representing intermediate-term investment grade bonds traded in the United States. The MSCI World Index captures large and mid-cap representation across 23 Developed Markets (DM) countries. Bloomberg US EQ:FI 60:40 Index is designed to measure cross-asset market performance in the US. The index rebalances monthly to 60% equities and 40% fixed income. Reference to an index does not imply that any account will achieve returns, volatility, or other results similar to that index. An index’s composition may not reflect how a portfolio is
constructed in relation to expected or achieved returns, portfolio guidelines, restrictions, sectors, correlations, concentrations, volatility or tracking error targets, all of which are subject to change. Individuals cannot invest directly in any index. Indices are unmanaged and do not have fees or expense charges, which would lower returns.
The investments recommended by Horizon Investments are not guaranteed. There can be economic times when all investments are unfavorable and depreciate in value. Clients may lose money. Asset allocation cannot eliminate the risk of fluctuating prices and uncertain returns. All investing involves risk of loss, and in periods of market growth, risk mitigation strategies can be expected to lag in performance behind equity strategies that do not focus on risk mitigation.
This commentary is based on public information that we consider reliable, but we do not represent that it is accurate or complete, and it should not be relied on as such. Opinions expressed herein are our opinions as of the date of this document. These opinions may not be reflected in all of our strategies. We do not intend to and will not endeavor to update the information discussed in this document. No part of this document may be (i) copied, photocopied, or duplicated in any form by any means or (ii) redistributed without Horizon’s prior written consent. Forward-looking statements cannot be guaranteed. Other disclosure information is available at Horizon Investments and the Horizon H are registered trademarks of Horizon Investments, LLC

©2023 Horizon Investments LLC

You are now leaving this website to go to