The U.S. stock market rose on strong activity in mergers and acquisitions (M&A), corporate earnings that were better than expected, and signs of an improving economy, including a drop in U.S. unemployment from 6.7% to 6.1%. International equity markets also posted solid returns on central bank stimulus and an increase in M&A activity. Emerging markets rebounded on expectations of an improved global economy and reduced political uncertainty in certain regions. The U.S. Federal Reserve continued to modestly reduce its securities purchases by $10 billion at each meeting, and announced it will end its securities purchases in October if the U.S. economy stays on track. The price of oil increased from $102 per barrel to $105, an increase of 2.9%.