By Tyler J. Pullen, CFA

Markets rebounded during the 3rd quarter, as signs of acceleration in the economy and worries associated with the U.K. and China receded. This pushed the more cyclical stocks and sectors of the market higher, with technology stocks the clear standout, while the classic defensive or lower volatility sectors were down after a red hot second quarter. This backdrop proved helpful to our portfolios as we gained some ground versus the broader indices and benchmark during the quarter. Given the inconsistent pace of this recovery and the favorable bounce we experienced during the quarter, we did take the opportunity to exit some of our more cyclical holdings in Technology, Financials and Energy, and we finished the quarter with a bit more conservatively positioned portfolio. Our two semiconductor plays, Texas Instruments (TXN) and Applied Materials (AMAT), had seen solid performance this year, helped by the mild cyclical rebound in demand, while the development of new chip designs led to solid share gains for AMAT. We exited our TXN position and we reduced our AMAT position by half. Despite some conflicting thoughts on the subject that I will touch on shortly, we did lower our exposure to some of our most market and rate sensitive financials, in favor of some yield oriented, low volatility holdings.