We all learned a thing or two about Panama last week.
The country is not the home of the Panama hat, which is made in Ecuador. However, it is the only place in the world where you can watch the sun rise on the Pacific Ocean and set on the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s also home to a lot of offshore companies, according to the millions of records leaked from the world’s fourth largest offshore law firm. The Guardian reported 12 national leaders were among 143 politicians, athletes, and wealthy individuals (including family members and associates) who were participating in offshore tax havens.
It’s not illegal to hold money in an offshore company, unless the company facilitates tax evasion or money laundering, reported The New York Times. Further investigation will be required to know whether that was the case. CNBC suggested financial markets could be affected if the findings lead to greater regulation of foreign banks or prosecutorial action against them.
While the Panama scandal captured a lot of attention, it didn’t have much of an impact on markets. News that the U.S. Treasury was cracking down on corporate inversions, along with indications the U.S. Federal Reserve may raise rates twice during 2016, caused stocks to dip late in the week. Some major U.S. indices finished the week lower. (Corporate inversions are mergers that give U.S. companies a foreign address and lower their tax rates.)
We may be in for another round of market volatility. Corporate earnings season is here. That’s the period when publicly traded companies report how well they performed during the previous quarter. CNBC said, “Over the past 10 years, the emergence of first-quarter earnings reports has generally corresponded with a rise in volatility.”
|Data as of 4/8/16||1-Week||Y-T-D||1-Year||3-Year||5-Year||10-Year|
|Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks)||-1.2%||0.2%||-1.7%||9.4%||9.0%||4.7%|
|Dow Jones Global ex-U.S.||0.3||-2.5||-14.2||-1.5||-2.5||-0.7|
|10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)||1.7||NA||1.9||1.7||3.6||5.0|
|Gold (per ounce)||2.1||16.7||2.7||-7.7||-3.4||7.6|
|Bloomberg Commodity Index||1.4||0.6||-20.4||-16.2||-14.6||-7.3|
|DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index||-0.4||5.7||4.3||8.7||11.9||7.0|
S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.
Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association.