How Government Policies Affect Markets

One key element of our investment process at U.S. Global Investors is tracking and monitoring government policies. We believe policies are precursors to changes in the marketplace and taking a look at year-to-date performance of the S&P 500 Index is a good way to illustrate how.

This chart shows the year-to-date performance for each sector of the S&P 500 through the end of the quarter. Consumer discretionary (up 12.11 percent) and industrials (up 11.45 percent) have been far and away the top performers, nearly doubling third place telecom, while energy (down 2.34 percent) and healthcare (down 2.48) are the worst performers.

The performance of both the best and worst sectors can be traced back, at least in part, to government policies.

Consumer discretionary has drawn much of its performance from the auto retail sector which is up almost 45 percent. One driver has been better-than-expected auto sales but another was Toyota’s recalls and the resulting Congressional investigation. Toyota’s fall has been Ford’s and other domestic manufacturers’ gain as they have wrestled back market share from foreign companies.

Rising overseas sales for construction and farming equipment manufacturers such as Caterpillar and Deere have buoyed industrials. Investors have flocked to telecom, which is represented by AT&T and Verizon, as an income play since the current dividends for those companies are yielding 5-6 percent.

Energy and healthcare have felt the sting of government policies. Uncertainty about healthcare reform has kept providers and pharmaceutical companies at depressed levels. For energy, the BP disaster and ensuing drilling moratorium took down the drillers, suppliers and producers. Like the Gulf Coast, the sector has yet to recover and government officials have given no indication as to when the drilling ban will be lifted.

Possible quantitative easing (QE) measures have led to the run-up in materials. The market’s anticipation of these measures has been commodity positive and dollar negative. We think this could be one of the best sectors during the fourth quarter but there is a risk of a pullback if QE measures don’t meet market expectations.

The following securities mentioned in the article were held by one or more of U.S. Global Investors family of funds as of June 30, 2010: Caterpillar, Verizon Communications, AT&T. The S&P 500 Stock Index is a widely recognized capitalization-weighted index of 500 common stock prices in U.S. companies. The S&P 500 Energy Index is a capitalization-weighted index that tracks the companies in the energy sector as a subset of the S&P 500. The S&P 500 Materials Index is a capitalization-weighted index that tracks the companies in the material sector as a subset of the S&P 500. The S&P 500 Financials Index is a capitalization-weighted index. The index was developed with a base level of 10 for the 1941-43 base period. The S&P 500 Industrials Index is a Materials Index is a capitalization-weighted index that tracks the companies in the industrial sector as a subset of the S&P 500. The S&P 500 Consumer Discretionary Index is a capitalization-weighted index that tracks the companies in the consumer discretionary sector as a subset of the S&P 500. The S&P 500 Information Technology Index is a capitalization-weighted index that tracks the companies in the information technology sector as a subset of the S&P 500. The S&P 500 Consumer Staples Index is a Materials Index is a capitalization-weighted index that tracks the companies in the consumer staples sector as a subset of the S&P 500. The S&P 500 Utilities Index is a capitalization-weighted index that tracks the companies in the utilities sector as a subset of the S&P 500. The S&P 500 Healthcare Index is a capitalization-weighted index that tracks the companies in the healthcare sector as a subset of the S&P 500. The S&P 500 Telecom Index is a Materials Index is a capitalization-weighted index that tracks the companies in the telecom sector as a subset of the S&P 500.

About Frank Holmes 264 Articles

Affiliation: U.S. Global Investors

Frank Holmes is CEO and chief investment officer of U.S. Global Investors, Inc., which manages a diversified family of mutual funds and hedge funds specializing in natural resources, emerging markets and infrastructure.

The company’s funds have earned more than two dozen Lipper Fund Awards and certificates since 2000. The Global Resources Fund (PSPFX) was Lipper’s top-performing global natural resources fund in 2010. In 2009, the World Precious Minerals Fund (UNWPX) was Lipper’s top-performing gold fund, the second time in four years for that achievement. In addition, both funds received 2007 and 2008 Lipper Fund Awards as the best overall funds in their respective categories.

Mr. Holmes was 2006 mining fund manager of the year for Mining Journal, a leading publication for the global resources industry, and he is co-author of “The Goldwatcher: Demystifying Gold Investing.”

He is also an advisor to the International Crisis Group, which works to resolve global conflict, and the William J. Clinton Foundation on sustainable development in nations with resource-based economies.

Mr. Holmes is a much-sought-after conference speaker and a regular commentator on financial television. He has been profiled by Fortune, Barron’s, The Financial Times and other publications.

Visit: U.S. Global Investors

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