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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

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

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

The start of 2016 for the equities markets may be described as rocky at best.  Stunted by receding oil prices and a plummeting Chinese stock market, January began with stocks hitting the skids in a big way.  A late-month rally fueled by an about-face in oil prices, some favorable earnings reports, the prospect of further stimulus from the European Central Bank, and Japan dropping interest rates to negative numbers spurred stocks higher toward the end of the month, but not enough to lift each of the indexes listed here out of negative territory year-to-date.  The Russell 2000 and Nasdaq still have the most ground to make up to get to even, while the large-cap Dow and S&P 500 are about 5.0% off their values at the end of 2015.

The close of January saw bond prices rise as yields fell, evidenced by the 10-year Treasury yield which dropped below 2.0%.  The price of gold (COMEX) increased by month's end, selling at $1,118.40 -- about $58 higher than December's end-of-month price of $1,060.50.

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Market Month January 2016

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

Year-End Tax Planning Basics

The window of opportunity for many tax-saving moves closes on December 31, so it's important to evaluate your tax situation now, while there's still time to affect your bottom line for the 2015 tax year.

Timing is everything

Consider any opportunities you have to defer income to 2016.  For example, you may be able to defer a year-end bonus, or delay the collection of business debts, rents, and payments for services.  Doing so may allow you to postpone paying tax on the income until next year.  If there's a chance that you'll be in a lower income tax bracket next year, deferring income could mean paying less tax on the income as well.

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Tax Planning