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Stocks are Mixed for the Month


Historically, August has been a volatile month for financial markets. While this August provided headline volatility, the equity markets proved enormously resilient facing multiple threats including: increasing tensions between the

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Strong Earnings Lift Stocks


Global equity markets remained strong through the end of July. Robust earnings reports lifted the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a new record high, while other major U.S. equity indexes hovered near record highs. The Dow Jones

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When Half Is More

Seeking to Protect Long Term Gains
It can take years to accumulate a meaningful gain from investing. Unfortunately, those gains can be wiped out by a single bear market cycle. A 100% gain would be completely eroded by a 50% loss. Market corrections

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Full Market Cycles Can Be a Real Bear

As of June 30, 2017, the current cyclical bull market is 100 months long (well beyond the 43 month average*) with an annualized return of 16.59%. In that light, we think it is especially important to be mindful of how gains are affected over full

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2Q17 Market Update Video

The 2nd quarter of 2017 was positive for most stocks across the globe, but we are beginning to see some interesting changes going on under the hood of the market. These changes could be early warning signs that the rally is weakening a bit, but

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The Beginning of the End for QE


Despite some month end weakness, U.S. equities posted gains for June. The S&P 500 added 0.62% while the Dow Jones gained 1.74%. After leading the market higher most of the year, the tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite struggled shedding

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Market Conditions Remain Benign


During the month of May, U.S. stocks rose to record highs on record low volatility. The technology heavy NASDAQ Composite gained 2.50% with the S&P 500 adding 1.41%. Much of the market’s gains can be attributed to the “FANG” stocks

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Still Waiting…

Weekly Commentary, 05/08/17 to 05/12/17 

On March 1st, the S&P 500 made a new all-time high at 2400.98 following President Trump’s first speech to congress the previous night. The 2400 level, which marked roughly a 12% gain from Trump’s victory,

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Jobless Rate and VIX 10 Year Lows

Weekly Commentary, 05/01/17 to 05/04/17 

It was a fairly complacent week for the major U.S. equity indexes before having a mini-rally Friday, May 4th pushing the S&P 500 and NASDAQ Composite to new closing highs. The S&P 500 Index added 0.63% and

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Best Week in Months

Weekly Commentary, 04/24/17 to 04/28/17 

A significant tax reform announcement combined with upbeat earnings reports and a politically easier environment in Europe pushed equity prices higher. The S&P 500 Index gained 1.51%, the Dow Jones Index

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French Anxieties (Round 1)

Weekly Commentary, 04/17/17 to 04/21/17 

U.S. equities managed to close the week higher despite continued global macro tensions. The Dow Jones Index added 0.46%, the S&P 500 Index gained 0.85%, and the NASDAQ Composite spiked 1.82%.

Macro risks

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Macro Issues Take Over

Weekly Commentary, 04/10/17 to 04/14/17

U.S. equities closed the week lower for what could be a litany of reasons. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 Index and Nasdaq Composite each lost about 1%.    

Geopolitical tensions grabbed the

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Stocks Prove Resilient

Weekly Commentary, 04/03/17 to 04/07/17

Major U.S. Indexes proved resilient this week after receiving mixed messages from economic data and geopolitical events. The Dow Jones Index shed -0.03%. The S&P 500 Index lost -0.30%, and the Russell 2000

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Stocks Extend Gains

Weekly Commentary, 03/27/17 to 3/31/17

Stock prices rebounded this week after last week’s decline. The S&P 500 Index gained 0.80% and the Russell 2000 Index jumped 2.27%. The Dow Jones Index lagged only adding 0.32%.

The previous week’s

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Repeal/Replace - Rejected

Weekly Commentary, 03/20/17 to 3/24/17

Negative news originating in our nation’s capital put increased pressure on equity prices this week. Republican leaders pulled President Trump’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare because Mr. Trump could not

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Don’t Fear the Fed

Weekly Commentary, 03/13/17 to 3/17/17

All the major U.S. equity indices saw gains this week. The Dow Jones Index added 0.06%, the S&P 500 gained 0.24% and the Russell 2000 Index rallied 1.92%.

Last week’s rally began immediately following the

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Six Week Streak

Weekly Commentary, 3/06/17 to 3/10/17

The S&P 500 ended a six-week winning streak this week, canceling any celebration plans for the current bull market’s 8th birthday. All three major indices posted losses for the week. The S&P 500 and the Dow

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Speak Week

Weekly Commentary, 2/27/17 to 3/3/17

The past week was reminiscent of the days following the Presidential election, as equity markets reacted positively to President Trump’s speech on Tuesday. The Dow Jones Index surged more than 300 points to

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Washington in the News

Weekly Commentary, 2/20/17 to 2/24/17

U.S. stocks extended their march higher bolstered by positive earnings announcements and comments from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin regarding tax reform. According to Mnuchin, a tax reform package that

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Stocks up 1.5% for the week

Weekly Commentary, 2/13/17 to 2/17/17 

U.S. stocks extended their winning streak with major equity indexes posting weekly advances of at least 1.50% and nearing gains of 5% for the year. The song remains the same as signs of economic growth and

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Weekly Commentary, 2/6/17 to 2/10/17

Major U.S. stock indexes reached new highs seemingly buoyed by news of President Trump’s impending announcement to come within the next three weeks, which according to President Trump will be “phenomenal in

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Stall Mode

Weekly Commentary, 1/30/17 to 2/03/17

The major U.S. stock indexes finished the week close to where they began. The Dow Jones Index lost 0.11% but closed above 20,000 at 20,071. The S&P 500 Index added 0.12% finishing at 2,297. The Russell 2000,

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Dow 20,000

Weekly Commentary, 1/23/17 to 1/27/17

After struggling for the last month, the Dow Jones Index finally cleared the 20,000 level on optimism that President Trump will usher in an era of business and economic growth. Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq

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Losing Steam

Weekly Commentary, 1/9/17 to 1/13/17

Equities continue their sideways consolidation, still hovering near all-time highs, as the post-election rally loses steam. For the week, the Dow Jones Index shed -0.39%. The S&P 500 Index was basically

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4Q16 / Year End Market Update

Trump’s win, which was a surprise according to most polls, has definitely impacted markets thus far. In our 4Q16/Year-End Market Update video above, we look back at 2016 to examine how those key market themes have evolved and then discuss how we

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New Record Highs

Weekly Commentary, 1/2/17 to 1/6/17                                                                   

Equities continued their hot streak into the new year with all four major indices having recently established new highs. The Dow Jones Industrial

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Drifting Lower but a Good Year

Weekly Commentary, 12/26/16 to 12/30/16

Stock prices drifted lower in the last trading week of the year capping off the first weekly decline since the surprising election win of Donald Trump. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell short of the

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Oh So Close

Weekly Commentary, 12/19/16 to 12/23/16

Quiet holiday trading resulted in small gains for stocks. The media was fixated on the Dow Jones closing in on the psychologically important 20,000 level. Although the actual number means nothing, it does get

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Hovering Near the Highs

Weekly Commentary, 12/12/16 to 12/16/16

Stock prices finished the week mixed but still hovering near all-time highs. The Dow Jones Index closed at 19,843, up +0.44% and flirting with the 20,000 milestone throughout the week. The S&P 500 lost -0.06%

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Enjoy the Ride

Weekly Commentary, 12/5/16 to 12/9/16

After taking a brief breather stocks resumed their rally for the same reasons we have been writing about post-election. Higher stock prices seem to be pinning their hopes on Trump’s hoped for success in

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Record Highs

Weekly Commentary, 11/21/16 to 11/25/16

Stocks continued their post-election rally through the short Thanksgiving week with the major U.S. indexes setting record highs. The S&P 500 Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average each gained

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Weekly Commentary, 11/14/16 to 11/18/16

The positive tone for stock prices carried over for another week following the surprising presidential election. On price basis the Dow Jones Index added +0.11% to last week’s gain of +5.36%.  The S&P 500

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Election Surprise

Weekly Commentary, 11/7/16 to 11/11/16

The surprising win of Donald Trump, like Brexit, helps to demonstrate why at Stadion we don’t attempt to predict market, economic or political events. Heading into the election most prognosticators and pundits

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The Polls Tighten

Weekly Commentary, 10/31/16 to 11/4/16

Stocks finished in negative territory for the second week in a row and lower in nine consecutive daily sessions.  The string of losses is the longest streak since 1980 and is making headlines in the press. 

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StoryLine In the News: Only 6 Months Since Launch

Stadion StoryLine recently received some press after our release on October 18, 2016. With Nationwide, Lincoln Financial, Mutual of Omaha and Guardian as the first platforms to adopt StoryLine, the new specialized managed accounts solution has

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Election Question

Weekly Commentary, 10/24/16 to 10/28/16

Stocks trended lower through the week behind disappointing corporate earnings results and the shocking news on Friday that the FBI would reopen the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email. The S&P 500

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Earnings Are Just OK – So Far

Weekly Commentary, 10/17/16 to 10/21/16

U.S. equities fluctuated between gains and losses ending higher in another low volume week.  The S&P 500 Index rose 0.38%. The gains posted by the NASDAQ Composite and the Russell 2000 Index, which rose 0.83%

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3Q16 Market Update

While most U.S. equity markets didn’t do much after the 1st two weeks of the quarter, there were some interesting changes in market dynamics. And, these market dynamics will likely continue to change with the approaching presidential election in

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Early Earnings Season

Weekly Commentary, 10/10/16 to 10/14/16

Equity markets finished lower for the second straight week. As described here last week, the price consolidation and narrowing of support and resistance levels pointed to a potential breakout soon, the only

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High (Rate) Anxiety

Weekly Commentary, 10/3/16 to 10/7/16

U.S. equities finished the week lower but the real story is anxiety over the prospect of higher interest rates.  Responding to concerns, the Dow Jones Index lost -0.37% and the S&P 500 Index shed -0.67% as

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Memories of Lehman Brothers

Weekly Commentary, 9/26/16 to 9/30/16

The last week of the month September was relatively volatile.  Notable headlines comprisedevents included the presidential debate, a full economic calendar, a tentative agreement to cut production from OPEC

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Central Bank Double Header

Weekly Commentary, 9/19/16 to 9/23/16

It was a positive week for global equities (markets) following the announcements from the Bank of Japan (BOJ) and the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings.  The BOJ’s announcement was being closely

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Central Bank Worries Won’t End Quickly

Weekly Commentary, 9/12/16 to 9/16/16

Having just come off a 43 day streak in which the S&P 500 failed to move more than 1% in any direction, the S&P 500 experienced 2 days of gains greater than +1% and one day losing -1.41% last week.  After the

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Central Bank Worries?

Weekly Commentary, 9/05/16 to 9/09/16

U.S. equity markets finally broke out of their multi-month range this week. Unfortunately it was to the downside.  Central bank worries were the root of the problem.  The selling was a reminder of how the

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The Door Remains Open

Weekly Commentary, 8/29/16 to 9/02/16

Federal Reserve officials have been publically bantering back and forth about the potential for raising rates at the upcoming September 20-21 Federal Open Market Committee meeting.  Market participants were

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FOMC: The Interest Rate Clock is Ticking Louder

Weekly Commentary, 8/22/16 - 8/26/16

Stocks closed the week lower and the U.S. dollar rose on Friday as investors considered the timing of the next interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve. 

Janet Yellen ended two months of public silence

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FOMC: The Interest Rate Clock is Ticking

Weekly Commentary, 8/15/16 - 8/19/16

For the week, U.S. stocks traded in a narrow range hovering near all-time highs.  It was another low volume summer week as investors seemed to enjoy the last of summer holidays.  Mixed signals followed the July

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Trifecta Thursday

Weekly Commentary, 8/8/16 – 8/12/16

U.S. equites finished the week up slightly as the S&P 500, Dow Jones and the NASDAQ Composite hit a trifecta Thursday, all closing at record highs. The last time the three closed simultaneously at record levels

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New Week, New Highs

Weekly Commentary, 8/1/16 – 8/5/16

As the dog days of August drift along, U.S. equities saw modest gains over the week as major indices continued setting new highs, with the S&P 500 Index adding +0.43% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average up

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Summer Doldrums?

Weekly Commentary, 7/25/16 – 7/28/16

After a brief post-‘Brexit’ selloff, followed by a recovery in late June and early July, the market seems to have slipped into a holding pattern. With last month’s rise to all time highs, the S&P 500 Index

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TINA, There is No Alternative

Weekly Commentary, 7/18/16 – 7/22/16

Last week we highlighted an acronym, FOMO, the “fear of missing out”.  Another acronym making its way around Wall Street to help explain the recent equity rally is TINA: “there is no alternative.”  With global

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2Q16 Market Update

World equity markets closed the quarter with a flurry following the historical vote by the people of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union in what is now known by many as the Brexit vote. Watch the video above for our full 2Q16 market

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FOMO, the Fear Of Missing Out

Weekly Commentary, 7/11/16 – 7/15/16

FOMO is an acronym making its way around Wall Street as U.S. equites continue to set new record highs. FOMO stands for the “Fear Of Missing Out” on future returns. FOMO is closely associated with greed.     

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The Good News: Strong Payrolls

Weekly Commentary, 7/5/16 – 7/8/16

U.S. equities were propelled higher last week entirely by Friday’s action following the Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly employment report. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2129 (+1.28%) with 493 of its

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BREXIT Turmoil Turns Positive

Weekly Commentary, 6/27/16 – 7/1/16

It was truly a remarkable week following the June 23rd vote of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.  The repercussions on global growth and political uncertainties followed through to Monday where the

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BREXIT Drives Global Turmoil

Weekly Commentary, 6/20/16 – 6/24/16

For weeks the markets have waited breathlessly for the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland) to vote on a referendum (commonly known as Brexit) that would determine whether they stay or

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The Market Slips Over the Edge

Weekly Commentary, 6/13/16 – 6/17/16

The week began on a tragic note with the horrific shootings in Orlando. Stocks drifted lower through the balance of the week on polls pointing to a “leave” vote on the U.K. referendum to stay in the European

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A Market on the Edge?

Weekly Commentary, 6/6/16 – 6/10/16

U.S. equity markets started the week on a strong note before trading lower as the week wore on, giving up most gains by Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to a 0.33% rise. The S&P 500 Index closed

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Job Surprise

Weekly Commentary, 5/30/16 – 6/3/16

For the week, stocks were mixed and performance muted. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished lower by -0.37%. The S&P 500 Index closed virtually unchanged from the previous week at 2099, flirting with key

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Janet Visits Harvard

Weekly Commentary, 5/23/16 – 5/27/16

U.S. stocks closed the week on a high note.  The Nasdaq Composite and the Russell 2000 Index led the charge, each gaining 3.4%.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 Index each rose approximately 2%.

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Higher Rates?

Weekly Commentary, 5/16/16 – 5/20/16

U.S. stocks rose Friday, reversing losses from earlier in the week.  For the week the S&P 500 Index rose 0.28%, the tech heavy NASDAQ Composite gained 1.10% and the Russell 2000 Index climbed 0.89%.  Oil jumped

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There’s No Such Thing as Typical


It’s a simple fact: No two retirement plan participants are alike. So why do so many retirement plan solutions treat them as if they have the same goals, preferences, and expectations just because they're the same age? At

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Stocks Swung Wildly

Weekly Commentary, 5/9/16 – 5/13/16

Stocks swung wildly during the week. The Dow Jones Index rose 200 points on Tuesday, fell 200 on Wednesday and lost another 175 on Friday, its biggest moves since the markets swooned in January and February,

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Soft Jobs

Weekly Commentary, 5/2/16 – 5/6/16

Major U.S. stock indexes slipped fractionally this week in response to underwhelming quarterly earnings reports and disappointing economic data. Large cap stocks handled the selling pressure relatively better than

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Busy on the Macro and Micro Front

Weekly Commentary, 4/25/16 – 4/29/16

On the macro side the major focus for the week was Wednesday’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting and the Bank of Japan meeting on Thursday morning. One fizzled and one provided fireworks.

Shocking no

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No Deal in Doha

Weekly Commentary, 4/18/16 – 4/22/16

Oil prices careened wildly on Monday after talks between the world’s largest exporters on capping production collapsed over the weekend. Oil prices fell more than -6% in overnight trading, rebounding in the U.S.

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Making Custom-for-All a Reality


Despite steady advances in defined contribution plan design and investment choices, today’s typical one-size-fits-all retirement solution may fall short for companies and their plan participants. Today, there’s a new breed of

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Chugging along

Weekly Commentary, 4/11/16 – 4/15/16

Major U.S. stock indexes finished up about 2% this week. The rally was sparked by a rise in financial shares, improving news about China’s economy and a report that a “consensus” had been reached between Russia

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1Q16 Market Update

March 2016 capped off one of the wildest quarters ever. Watch the video above for our full 1Q16 market update.

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Global Macro Risk

Weekly Commentary, 4/4/16 – 4/8/16

Stocks ended lower in most major markets this week including in the U.S. The S&P 500 Index finished lower by 1.2%. Small cap stocks led the way lower with the Russell 2000 Index shedding 1.8%. Internationally, the

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April follows March

Weekly Commentary, 3/28/16 – 4/1/16

Stocks started April the way March ended by heading higher. The S&P 500 Index rose 1.7% to 2,072, while the NASDAQ gained 2.60% to 4,914. Small caps outperformed on the week with the Russell 2000 Index rallying

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All Talk

Weekly Commentary, 3/21/16 – 3/25/16

U.S stocks slid slightly ending five consecutive weekly gains in a holiday shortened week punctuated by Tuesday’s terrorist attack in Brussels. This meant the year-to-date S&P 500 Index eased back into negative

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Back in the Black

Weekly Commentary, 3/14/16 – 3/18/16

The major indexes moved into the black for the first time this year. After a poor start to the week, dovish comments from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday drove equities more than 1% higher. Rising oil prices

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Draghi and Crude

Weekly Commentary, 3/7/16 – 3/11/16

Early week trading was listless as investors were reluctant to jump ahead of policy meetings for the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Federal Reserve. That changed Thursday morning when the ECB cut interest

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Rally Continues

Weekly Commentary, 2/29/16 – 3/4/16

It appears, for now, that the “Bulls” have temporarily bested the “Bears” at the battle waged over the 1950 point level of the S&P 500 Index. The stock market ended higher for the third straight week. The major

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Weekly Commentary, 2/22/16 – 2/26/16

As we suggested last week, the “Bulls” and “Bears” are fighting it out along that 1950 S&P 500 Index battle line.

Market sentiment last week continued to improve on better-than-expected economic data that

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Stocks Surge

Weekly Commentary, 2/15/16 – 2/19/16

Global market sentiment improved this week as oil prices recovered after the Russian-Saudi production freeze and the Chinese equity and currency markets gained stability

Stocks surged around the world with the

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More Questions Than Answers

Weekly Commentary, 2/8/16 – 2/12/16

It was a wild week for various global asset classes, leaving investors with more questions than answers.  U.S. stocks slid some 1% but managed to rally from the lows.  While many U.S. economic indicators are not

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Running a Long Way to Nowhere

Weekly Commentary, 2/1/16 – 2/5/16

Google parent Alphabet Inc., replaced Apple as the world’s most valuable firm on a market capitalization basis. Meanwhile, the broader U.S. equity markets, represented by the S&P 500 Index, finished the week down

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Relief Rally

Weekly Commentary, 1/25/16 – 1/25/16

The broader equity markets finished the week on a strong note. The S&P 500 Index rose 1.75% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average tacked on 2.3% for the week. However, both indexes fell over 5% for the month. The

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Volatility Can Work Both Ways

Weekly Commentary, 1/19/16 – 1/22/16

Crude oil futures prices plunged midweek to as low as $27.32 a barrel before soaring later and closing the week at $32.29 per barrel. The price action affected world markets. On Wednesday, the major U.S. equity

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Global Contagion Fears

Weekly Commentary, 1/11/16 – 1/15/16

The S&P 500 Index shed another 2.2% this week putting its decline approaching 9% year to date. Even harder hit were the Russell 2000 Small Cap Index and the NASDAQ Composite falling 3.70% and 3.30% respectively.

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The Worst Start Ever

Weekly Commentary, 1/4/16 – 1/8/16

The stock market got off to its worst January ever as major indexes fell 6% to 7%. Last week’s decline put the major averages in correction territory. The Russell 2000 (small stocks) is down 19% from its peak of

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4Q15 Market Update

As the fourth quarter of 2015 came to an end, overall returns were lackluster and many of the risks that worried investors in 2015 will likely remain front and center in the New Year. Watch the video below for our full 4Q15 market update.

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Year End and Unchanged

Weekly Commentary, 12/28/15 – 12/31/15

There were numerous similarities between the last week of the year and the entire year. In the end, there was very little price movement but behind the scenes there were periods of extreme volatility.  The

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A Quiet Week

Weekly Commentary, 12/21/15 – 12/25/15

Christmas week was fairly quiet for U.S. equities. Trading volume was low as expected this time of year and there was very little in the way of fresh macroeconomic news. The S&P 500 moved higher on very light

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Surge and Slump

Weekly Commentary, 12/14/15 – 12/18/15

The Federal Reserve’s first rate hike since 2006 whipsawed stocks over the past week.  Major U.S. equity indexes closed virtually unchanged but those returns don’t convey the extreme volatility of the week. 

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High Yield and Energy Pressure

Weekly Commentary, 12/7/15 – 12/11/15

Stocks cratered over the week as high yield bonds were routed and oil fell to a cyclical low of $36 a barrel.  The S&P 500 Index declined -3.70%.  The NASDAQ Composite fell almost -4% while the Russell 2000 was

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Back and Forth Action

Weekly Commentary, 11/30/15 – 12/4/15

The S&P 500 Index closed modestly lower on Monday, the last day of November, finishing the month essentially unchanged and up about 1.50% for the year.

On Tuesday, the broad market averages resumed their

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Thanksgiving Week

Weekly Commentary, 11/23/15 – 11/27/15

In a subdued holiday trading week, the markets were able to hold gains in spite of Turkey downing a Russian jet and a one day decline in the Shanghai index of over 5%.  The S&P 500 Index closed the week

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Market Shakes Off Terror Attacks

Weekly Commentary, 11/16/15 – 11/20/15

Stocks climbed higher as investors shook off concerns stemming from recent terror attacks. In the U.S., the S&P 500 Index put in one of its best weeks of the year, gaining 3.3% following one of the worst weeks

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