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The Markets (as of market close May 31, 2016)

Following an up-and-down path similar to what occurred in April, the indexes listed here ultimately closed the month of May higher (except for the Global Dow).  The month started with a run of positive returns, only to see much of the month's gains given back by the end of May.  Information from the Fed that interest rates could be raised as early as June could be interpreted as both a positive (improving economy) and a negative (higher lending rates), which seemed to flummox investors a bit.  Several economic indicators picked up the pace in May as employment remained steady, the housing market gained  some momentum heading into the summer months, and consumer prices increased along with mounting oil prices.

Long-term bond yields fluctuated during the month, ultimately closing at essentially the same yield as April's closing return.  The price of gold (COMEX) decreased by month's end, selling at $1,217.50 -- about $77 below April's end-of-month price of $1,294.90.

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The month in review

The Markets (as of market close April 29, 2016)

Despite a poor close to the month, the indexes listed here improved in April (with the exception of the Nasdaq) compared to their March closing values -- but not by much.  The DOW gained a scant 88.55 points over the month, while the S&P 500 increased less than 0.3%.  On the year, only the Russell 2000 and the Nasdaq remain below their year-end values.

Bond yields increased by the close of trading for April as prices fell, presumably due to investor money moving back to equities.  The price of gold (COMEX) increased by month's end, selling at $1,294.90 -- about $62 higher than March's end-of-month price of $1,233.00

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The Month in Review

 

The Markets

The first quarter of 2016 started with a whimper as equities suffered several weeks of losses.  However, as March came to a close, several of the indexes listed here recovered enough to finish the quarter in positive territory.  The DOW picked up 260 points to close 1.49% ahead of its fourth-quarter closing value.  The S&P 500 also finished the first quarter slightly better than it ended the previous quarter.  However, the NASDAQ, Russell 2000, and the Global Dow each ended the quarter behind their respective December 2015 closing values.  March proved to be a good month for equities, as each of the indexes listed here yielded positive returns, led by the DOW and the Russell 2000, each of which gained more than 7.0% over February.

The debt side of the ledger also produced a mixed bag of revolving returns as 10-year Treasury yields fell to their lowest end-of-quarter levels since the fourth quarter of 2012.  Yields on long-term Treasuries opened the quarter at around 2.25%, but ended it at 1.79% as money moved in, driving prices higher and yields lower

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Market Review

 

spangler01Archie culminates a career in banking and trust financial services that spans more than 46 years including 13+ years with Indiana Trust Company in Muncie,  Indiana.  A number of local civic organizations and fundraising campaigns have benefited from Archie's involvement over the years.  He completed 25 years on the Board of Directors of the Muncie Boys & Girls Club, serving a term as President.  He continues to be active in his church and serves on the Board as Stewardship Chairman for the Yorktown Church of the Nazarene.

The Markets

Following steep declines in January and a rocky start to February, equities rebounded by the end of the month to finish close to their ending values from the prior month.  The Dow actually finished up, gaining a little over 50 points by February's market close.  Each of the indexes listed here remained in negative territory for 2016, with the Russell 2000 and Nasdaq each down almost 9.0%.  Investors may be feeling a little more confident in the U.S. economy despite global economic instability, as several domestic economic indicators have been favorable, including manufacturing, inflation, consumer spending, and the GDP.

Bond yields fell by the close of trading for February as prices rose with the influx of investor dollars, while the 10-year Treasury yield dropping almost 20 points by the end of the month.  The price of gold (COMEX) increased by month's end, selling at $1239.30 -- about $121 higher than January's end-of-month price of $1,118.40.

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Market Month February 2016