During the quarter, equity markets experienced a significant correction, but the S&P 500 ended the period with a slightly positive return. Investors were concerned about a possible recession in the U.S. and an economic slowdown in China, Europe, and Japan. As some signs of economic stabilization appeared and the Federal Reserve softened its stance on interest rate increases, markets rebounded. While the U.S. economy expands at a very modest pace, its growth rate is healthier than that of most of the developed world. Housing remains a bright spot, and the employment picture continues to improve. Inflation remains at uncomfortably low levels, and foreign central banks have adopted aggressive policies to combat this trend. Volatility is likely to remain elevated as investors closely watch China, the Fed, and commodity prices. For now, we position portfolios for modest economic growth, although new opportunities have become more difficult to identify.
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