During the quarter, equity markets continued to trade within a narrow range. The S&P 500 ended the period with a slightly positive return, closing at 2,063. The U.S. economy experienced another soft patch in the first half of the year. Nonetheless, the employment picture continues to improve, and wages are increasing. For now, the U.S. dollar has stopped appreciating versus other major currencies, but the negative translation effect is continuing to have a significant
impact on earnings. Earnings growth for the S&P 500 is now estimated to be slightly positive for the year, and valuations have expanded. The Federal Reserve has delayed its increase of interest rates until sometime in the second half of the year, but the Fed seems intent on moving away from zero. We continue to position portfolios for economic growth, although we expect volatility to reappear.
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