Financial Insights

KCM On Balance – March 2023

There is an old saying about March coming “in like a lion, out like a lamb,” as it is traditionally the month we transition from winter’s chilly roar to the gentle green shoots of spring.


One thing that has become extremely popular in March is the annual prediction of the outcomes of each game in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. It is estimated that tens of millions of Americans embrace “March Madness” and participate in a bracket pool contest with their best guesstimates on who among a field of 68 collegiate teams will beat whom over the course of the 36 games that run from March 14 to April 3, culminating with the crowning of the NCAA basketball tournament champion.


To complete and submit a “winning” bracket, many seek advice from television networks that devote untold hours having seasoned professionals prognosticate potential winners. Some pay for quantitative models that give outcomes with the highest probability. Finally, a daring few immerse themselves in conducting in-depth analysis by watching every game every team has played this season. However, picking a perfect bracket is tough (the odds are estimated to be roughly 1 in 128 billion). Many games will play out as expected, but there are always surprises as underdog teams beat longshot odds, or luck plays a crucial role in how the ball bounces in big moments.


In many ways, March Madness is like investing. There is no shortage of professionals opining on the direction of stocks and bonds. Market participants leverage fundamental and quantitative tools to inform their ideas and place their bets accordingly. Sometimes they’re right… and sometimes, they get surprised.


Markets jumped off to a hot start this year, primarily fueled by expectations that the Fed would stop raising interest rates soon and perhaps even back them off a little by the end of the year. However, market participants were surprised by a slew of economic data that showed stronger growth and a possible second wave of inflation, and markets sold off the last few weeks of February on heightened fears that the Fed will have to continue raising rates to try and cool inflationary pressures. By the end of the month, the S&P 500 closed down -2.44%.


At times markets roar, and their positive results buoy us. At other times, markets claw at us, and we desperately seek the green shoots of new growth to mark the end of a painful downturn. Often market participants can be gripped by “madness” as crowds coalesce around a popular opinion or outlook, only to be surprised by the turn of events. We believe secret to successful investing over time is to stay consistent through up and down markets, maintain a level head, and avoid the temptation of going along with the crowd.

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Advisory services offered through KCPAG Financial Advisors LLC and insurance services offered through KCPAG Insurance Services LLC, subsidiaries of Kemper Capital Management LLC. Tax services offered through Kemper CPA Group LLP.

Symmetry Partners, LLC, is an investment advisory firm registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm only transacts business in states where it is properly registered, or excluded or exempt from registration requirements. Registration of an investment adviser does not imply any specific level of skill or training and does not constitute an endorsement of the firm by the Commission.

No one should assume that future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, product, or non- investment related content made reference to directly or indirectly in this newsletter will be profitable. You should not assume any discussion or information contained in this email serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice. Symmetry does not provide tax or legal advice and nothing either stated or implied here should be inferred as providing such advice. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions.

Investors cannot invest directly in an index. Indexes have no fees. Historical performance results for investment indexes do not reflect the deduction of transaction and/or custodial charges or the deduction of an investment management fee, the occurrence of which would have the effect of decreasing historical performance results. Actual performance for client accounts will differ from index performance.

S&P 500 Index represents the 500 leading U.S. companies, approximately 80% of the total U.S. market capitalization.

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