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Annual Market Review 2014

Overview

The United States emerged from 2014 as the best house on a troubled block. Civil war in Ukraine, a slowing Chinese economy, a stagnant Europe worried about potential deflation, a new recession in Japan, the threat of a new Russian economic meltdown triggered by plummeting oil prices–it all made an improving situation at home look even brighter by comparison.

Even apart from the troubles overseas, the United States by almost any measure was stronger than it’s been in years. The labor and housing markets improved, corporate profits were solid, Congress managed to avert another government shutdown, and the Ebola threat had little impact domestically. All in all, it was a Goldilocks economy: not too hot, which could have brought on higher interest rates from the Federal Reserve, and not too cold, which let the Fed end the QE3 bond purchases begun in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

That domestic strength fueled more gains for domestic equities than had been envisioned for the fifth year of this bull market. The S&P 500 ended 2014 up more than 200% from its March 2009 low, and the Dow saw its sixth straight yearly gain. However, in the coming year, investors will almost certainly be faced with the start of long anticipated interest rate increases. Though the Fed has promised patience in implementing rate hikes, higher borrowing costs and a strong dollar that makes U.S. goods more expensive overseas could create a headwind for domestic corporations. The question is whether that wind might blow the economy off its current promising course or will merely keep the game interesting.

Market/Index 2013 Close As of 9/30 As of 12/31 Month Change Q4 Change 2014 Change
DJIA 16576.66 17042.90 17823.07 -.03% 4.58% 7.52%
Nasdaq 4176.59 4493.39 4736.05 -1.16% 5.40% 13.40%
S&P 500 1848.36 1972.29 2058.90 -.42% 4.39% 11.39%
Russell 2000 1163.64 1101.68 1204.70 2.68% 9.35% 3.53%
Global Dow 2484.10 2534.47 2501.66 -2.71% -1.29% .71%
Fed. Funds .25% .25% .25% 0 bps 0 bps 0 bps
10-year Treasuries 3.04% 2.52% 2.17% -1 bps -35 bps -87 bps

Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.

 

 

Source: Broadridge

Posted in: Uncategorized

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