History only gets written after the fact, but at this moment, it feels like the bear market of 2022 will be one that is remembered and studied for many years to come. The abysmal performance of bonds was most noteworthy with the primary U.S. bond benchmark index posting its worst decline since inception, falling 13% for the year. To pile on, global stocks were down 18%, marking the first time in 50 years that both bonds and stocks have fallen in a calendar year.
Only time will also tell us whether 2022 will mark the beginning of a decadal change from an era of falling rates and rock bottom interest rates when growth stocks and long-term bonds seemed to go in only one direction. But in the short term, investors who seemingly ignored the ever-growing interest rate risk for fear of missing out were dealt a serious blow with long-term government bonds down 31% and U.S. growth stocks falling 29%. With minimal exposure to these assets, many of our portfolios were able to deliver better returns than their benchmarks.
There is much uncertainty going into the year ahead, and that likely means continued volatility. 2022 reminded us that volatility can take many forms, not just wild swings day to day, but months of up followed by months of down. But we do know that with each passing month of down markets, investor expectations become more pessimistic, and it becomes easier to exceed expectations and for a rebound to be sustained over the long term. Our goal is to be positioned to capture that growth when it happens.
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