It was the third quarter of 2015 that stocks last turned in negative returns, triggered by recession fears and collapsing oil prices. While this quarter’s market decline of 1% - 2% came amidst stronger economic trends and positive earnings news, the modest loss masks a 10% correction from the January highs.

The stock market’s dramatic 8% drop in the last six trading days is breathtaking and disconcerting, especially yesterday’s 4.1% decline. Our view is that this is an overdue valuation correction, which we do not expect to escalate into an all-out meltdown or crash. While we...

A strong fourth quarter gave stocks their best year since 2013.  Broad equity indices hit multiple new highs as volatility remained historically low through year end.  Feeding off the momentum that began in late 2016, the S&P 500 finished the 2017 calendar year without a single down month for the first time since 1970.

Bond returns were generally positive for the year as longer-term interest rates ended the year somewhat lower compared to the beginning of 2017.  Shorter-term rates moved noticeably higher in the fourth quarter, most likely in anticipation of additional rate hikes from the Federal Reserve in 2018.

Stocks added impressively to their gains of the first half, marking the eighth consecutive quarter of positive returns for most broad based indices. Much of what transpired in the markets fit the “more of the same” narrative that has held course for the year. Bond returns were positive as interest rates ended the quarter little changed.