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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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In the middle of February, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 index down 10% since New Year’s, anyone suggesting that the first quarter would end in positive territory would have been laughed out of the room. And yet that’s exactly what happened.

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Like the stock market and crude oil, high-yield bonds bottomed out in mid-February and since then have made a dramatic comeback as investors flooded into the market.

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The market never believed that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates four times in 2016, so it came as little surprise last week when Fed Chair Janet Yellen and her policymaking colleagues backed away from such an aggressive path.

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