Q1 2015 Economic and Market Perspectives

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The U.S. economy continued to represent the best and the brightest opportunity across global markets in the fourth quarter of 2014 and for the full year as shown in the table of market indices below: Perhaps the most significant of these indicators is the growth in non-farm payrolls as shown in the chart below. When combined with other gauges of growth including earnings, purchasing managers’ surveys, consumer spending and so on, the outlook is considerably brighter than it was just 12 months ago. The continuing strength of the U.S. economy, as represented by two quarters of 4% or higher annualized GDP growth, provided investors around the world with sufficient reasons to add to their holdings of U.S. stocks, bonds, and dollars. As 2014 came to a close, a series of positive economic indicators—some at their highest levels in a decade— highlighted the domestic economy’s slow but steady recovery from the Great Recession.

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