Trade disputes, political drama, and rising interest rates could not hold back U.S. stocks during Q3. The S&P 500 Index posted a Q3 return of +7.71%, its best quarterly return since 2013. Growth outperformed value by wide margins across all market cap ranges. Indeed, the Russell 1000 Growth Index generated a total return 347 bps higher than the Russell 1000 Value Index in Q3, bringing the year-to-date growth over value gap to over 1300 bps.
Stocks moved higher in Q2, though changes in investor concerns caused the movement to come in waves. The S&P 500 Index posted positive returns in all three months to finish the quarter with a +3.43% total return. The earnings season was strong, with almost 83% of companies beating or meeting consensus estimates, as the positive impact of the corporate tax rate reduction helped drive S&P 500 Index operating earnings 26% above the same quarter last year.