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Third Quarter 2017

Overview

As we enter the fourth quarter, the unemployment rate stands at 4.2%, the inflation rate has not reached 2%, wage and prices appear stable, overall, businesses seem to be doing well, and the Federal Reserve did not raise the discount rate during the quarter. Adding to the good news, the government announced late in the third quarter that the growth rate for the second quarter, instead of the originally reported 2%, was 3%. This helped to fuel the stock market.



Second Quarter 2017

Market Review

If the second quarter of this year followed the sharp increase in large cap values that we saw in the first quarter, that would have been unusual. However, the second quarter did rather well, with large U.S. stocks continuing to gain along with mid-cap and small-cap stocks. The quarter began with the S&P 500 at 2362.72 and ending at 2423.41, resulting in an increase of 60.69 points or 2.57%. Mid-cap stocks were up 1.6% and small-cap stocks were up 1.4%.



First Quarter 2017

Market Review

The year began with the S&P 500 at 2239.  After an increase in the average during the fourth quarter of 2016, the question facing the markets was twofold: would stock prices increase and could bonds hold their ground as the Fed raised interest rates?



2016 In Review & Outlook

2016 Review

The final quarter of the year saw the S&P 500 rise from 2168 to 2239, for a gain of 71 points and a 3.3% increase in value. This gain was very much in line with the gain we saw in the third quarter of 2016, which was 3.2%. Overall, the S&P 500 began the year at 2044, ended at 2239, for a total gain of 195 points and a 9.5% increase in the index. Small stocks emerged with a gain of 8% in the fourth quarter, using the S&P 600 as our measurement, and an unbridled 24.7% for the year.