The market struggled near the flat-line again, pulling back substantially. Here is how the models look as of 3/14:
Top 20 had a stellar week, driven by the EPL acquisition announcement. For the week, the model returned -0.25%, while the S&P 500 pulled back 1.91%. This leaves Top 20 up 3.23% month-to-date, while the index has dropped 0.89%. NEM was a standout performer, while AEO performed poorly following earnings.
Conservative Growth/Balanced posted performance that basically tracked the 60% stock and 40% bond index, with the model rising 0.08% while the index dropped 0.12%. While the 0.2% gain wasn't particularly impressive, it's interesting that the model was able to outperform despite being underweight bonds, which had a decent week. The stocks in the model did outperform the S&P 500 significantly, with WSM and NEM contributing nicely. The month-to-date performance in this model has been good, though the model continues to have a rough quarter (after a great 2013). So far, it has rallied 1.15% in March compared to a 0.3% gain for the index.
I want to reiterate the caution that I have shared recently. The situation in Russia may be more important to the market than many realize. RSX, the Russia ETF, broke to a two-year low, and emerging markets (see VWO) look tentative. I continue to project that the market could be under some pressure over the next month or so. Again, 1700 on the S&P 500 would seem a likely limit to the downside, perhaps 1650. My year-end forecast remains 1968, which, translated into English, is a decent but not great year, and I think we will experience more peaks and valleys than we did in 2013.