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Market Commentary - Page 8

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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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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Listening to the presidential candidates may leave you feeling as though the U.S. economy is circling the drain. Campaign rhetoric focuses on negatives, and outlandish proposals take on a life of their own in daily news bites. In fact, the economy is rolling along steadily.

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