Market Recap – August 2015
Despite favorable economic news later in the month, the U.S. stock market was unable to recover all of its losses and closed in negative territory compared to July. Key factors in the downturn include fear that China's economy is weakening, the steep drop in the price of oil, lackluster corporate earnings reports, and the potential for an imminent interest rate hike. Each of the major market indexes dropped between 6% and 7.5% for the month. The Dow marked its largest percentage decline since May 2010.
- August saw China's economy continue its dramatic slowdown, causing turmoil in stock markets around the globe. When the second-largest economy contracts, other markets feel the heat. The Chinese government has responded by cutting interest rates and lowering bank reserve requirement ratios, allowing for more money to be available to borrow for investment. It remains to be seen whether these measures will increase investor confidence in China's economic growth, which is predicted to be at its slowest pace in over 20 years.
- Second quarter GDP continued to expand, increasing at an annual rate of 3.7% compared to the first quarter's 0.6%. The second quarter showed increased consumer spending, strong residential investment, and an uptick in exports.
- The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee did not meet in August, but provided enough discourse on a potential interest rate increase to draw significant attention. Nevertheless, the August release of the minutes of the committee's July meeting revealed no clear consensus among committee members as to when rates should be raised.
Eye on the Month Ahead
China's tumbling stock market clearly impacted U.S. stocks in August. Market recovery in September will be tied, at least in part, to whether China can boost its sagging economy. The results of the FOMC meeting in September may finally provide a firm indication of when interest rates will be increased and by how much. It appears that market volatility will continue as the third quarter comes to a close.
Notes: The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted index composed of 30 widely traded blue-chip U.S. common stocks. The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-value weighted index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The Russell 2000 is a market-cap weighted index composed of 2000 U.S. small-cap common stocks. Market indexes listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.
Portions of this market recap were provided by Forefield Financial Communications.
The performance quoted represents past performance, which does not guarantee future results. This summary represents the views of the portfolio manager as of May 31, 2015. Those views may change, and the Funds disclaim any obligation to advise investors of such changes. The Azzad Funds are self-distributed and available by prospectus only. A free copy of the prospectus, which contains information about the Funds’ risks, fees, and objectives, and other important information, is available at www.azzadfunds.com or by calling 888.350.3369. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted index composed of 30 widely traded blue-chip U.S. common stocks. The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. The Russell 2000 is a market-cap weighted index composed of 2000 U.S. small-cap common stocks measuring the performance of those Russell mid-cap companies with higher price-to-book ratios and higher forecasted growth values. The stocks are also members of the Russell 1000 Growth index. The Dow Jones Sukuk Index is designed to track the performance of global Islamic fixed-income securities, also known as Sukuk. The index includes U.S. dollar-denominated, investment-grade Sukuk that have been screened for Shari’ah compliance.