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Market Commentary - Page 4

In a stock market sporting valuations well above its historical average, it may behoove investors to focus on the quality of companies whose shares they consider purchasing.

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While U.S. stocks managed to eke out a small positive in the first quarter of 2016, bottom-line growth for the same period is coming in negative. It’s the fourth-straight quarter of negative earnings growth for the Standard & Poor’s 500. The last losing streak this long came during the depths of the financial crisis/Great Recession.

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One of the most common storylines regarding U.S. equities these days is that value stocks may finally be ready to turn the table on the growth stocks that have been outperforming since the current bull market began more than seven years ago.

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It’s been a wild 2016 for the U.S. stock market. Panic-selling began during the first six weeks of the year, followed by a powerful rebound that quickly reversed double-digit losses in large- and small-cap indices. Now the Standard & Poor’s 500 is within sniffing distance of the all-time high attained last May.

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Heading into 2016, some investors expected 2015’s challenging conditions — a lackluster economy, weakening earnings growth and the prospect of more interest rate hikes — to continue depressing the U.S. stock market. Others predicted that stocks would bounce back because of rising wages and a lack of alternative assets with attractive return potential.

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