US Market Report – Third Quarter

Welcome to the brave new world of low expectations. Although the market enjoyed brief periods of optimism during the third quarter, caution has generally been the word of the day.

Morningstar 12.10.2004
Many investors have been sitting on the sidelines ahead of the November elections, waiting until the votes are counted before putting too much equity money on the line. The economic outlook has been mixed as well. On the plus side, inflation seems to be a less imminent threat than it was a few months ago; although oil prices remain historically steep at close to $50 per barrel, prices on other goods have been rising at a relatively temperate pace.

Economic news has generally been positive, with jobs growth accelerating in August and most other economic measures holding steady. The Federal Reserve has continued to gradually step up interest rates, implementing widely anticipated hikes of 25 basis points in both August and September. But nagging concern about the sustainability of

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