Fear and uncertainty from persistently low inflation and interest rates, declining oil prices and slowing global economic growth led to only one major index ending 2015 in the black. The S&P 500 was up 1.4%. Broadly diversified funds were negative.
Our experience was the same. While the Income Fund paid a full 1% through the entire year, the Balanced Fund fell 3.73% and the Equity Fund fell 4.10%.
We need to remember with long term investing in times like these, losses are temporary, but gains are permanent. We experienced two bear markets in less than a decade (2000-2003 and 2008-2009). However, the Balanced Fund’s long term perspective of balancing risk and return with the need for liquidity, delivered positive returns through those market periods for your ministries.
Despite the market correction in 2015 and the dismal start to the equity markets in 2016, we remain optimistic about market prospects in 2016. The US economy is still the strongest around and further into a recovery than others. Election years have generally been good for the markets. Typically, everyone is hopeful for better times. Optimism often spurs the market up. It is hard to say the word “optimism” in this election cycle, but to quote a friend, "I believe there is a pony in there somewhere."
Christians can take comfort in the knowledge that God wants the best for us all.
We are grateful for your ministry and trust. May God continue to bless you.
Robert C. Fairly, Jr.