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%?”
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
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.
When it comes to U.S. economic expectations, the fixed income market
appears to be both optimistic and pessimistic. Pessimists see several
challenges ahead such as a slowinggrowth trend, a legislative stalemate
in Washington, and ongoing political turmoil in Europe andNorth Korea.
However, optimists believe stronger earnings are an indication of