Jim Finnegan, CFA Director, Product Marketing and Economic Commentator
Weekly Market Update
The major U.S. equity markets ended 2011 not far from where they began in terms of their index values. Nonetheless, they gave investors an exciting (some might say breathtaking) ride during the year. But now that the New Year has arrived, the big question is where these markets might be headed in 2012. Three important considerations behind this question are: (1) How key “macro-factors”—e.g. the European Union debt crisis—are or aren’t addressed; (2) Can U.S. corporations continue to deliver the earnings growth they have for the past three years; and (3) What are the prospects for U.S. consumers and households—an increasingly important consideration as the global recovery slowed in the fourth quarter of last year.
2011 in Review
The chart below plots the 2011 cumulative trends in three major U.S. equity indices—the DJIA (Dow Jones Industrial Average) Index, the S&P 500 (Standard