To Our Shareholders,
For the quarter ended September 30, 2018, the net asset value (“NAV”) per Class A Share of The Gabelli Value 25 Fund increased 5.3% compared with increases of 7.7% and 9.6% for the Standard & Poor’s (“S&P”) 500 Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average, respectively. Other classes of shares are available. See page 2 for performance information for all classes.
Third Quarter Commentary
Markets continued to charge ahead in the third quarter, with the S&P 500 again setting record highs in late September. Financial and economic data continue to support the rally: U.S. second quarter GDP growth registered a blistering 4.2%, the unemployment rate fell to a 49-year low at 3.7% in September, and corporate profits soared, with growth of over 16%. This good news was enough to overlook continued trade tensions, Federal Reserve-driven rising interest rates, and uncertainty around the midterm congressional elections.
This being said, there are always uncertainties and potential pitfalls to both markets and the economy.
We focus on what we call the “Four Ts”:
Tariffs. Just after quarter end, the Trump Administration announced it had successfully negotiated the USMCA to replace NAFTA. Once ratified, the new agreement would (presumably) lead to an end of trade tensions in North America. Does this mean that the Trump administration will also, after much fiery rhetoric, try to find common ground on trade with the E.U. and China? Time will tell, but it currently appears that any actual economic damage may be short lived. Ten Year. The 10-Year Treasury note yielded less than 2.5% at the start of 2018. As of this writing, it yields over 3.2%, as higher interest rates are finally becoming a reality. Are current equity multiples sustainable as interest rates continue to rise? Taxes. The U.S. moved to a territorial