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Since early March 2009, the best answer for equity investors has been U.S. large caps. In fact, The Standard & Poor’s 500 has returned more than 300% since the post-financial crisis bottom. Nowadays, however, that answer is being called into question.

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U.S. large-cap stocks have been strong performers so far in 2017. Through Tuesday, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up nearly 9% on a total-return basis. But that number might have a casual market-watcher wondering, “Really? Only 9%?”

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Credit spreads for corporate bonds — the yield difference between corporates and Treasuries of the same maturity — are close to the tightest they’ve been in the past two decades.

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The final few earnings reports are yet to trickle in, but it’s already clear that U.S. large-cap stocks had a much better first quarter than the market had anticipated. Prospects for the Standard & Poor’s in coming quarters are generally seen as positive, though with a couple of potential caveats.

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The Standard & Poor’s 500 index is near a record high and volatility is close to a quarter-century low. It’s a combination that would seem optimal for those who enjoy watching their wealth grow but at the same time value a good night’s sleep. However, some worry about the quiet.

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