Market commentary, 4th Quarter 2015

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The S&P 500 was up overall as initial optimism in the global economic recovery and continued heightened M&A activity outweighed pessimism in the latter part of the quarter. Developed international equity markets were similarly up overall despite the onset of volatility in the latter stages of the quarter.

Emerging markets were relatively flat as the slump in commodity prices from decreased Chinese economic activity erased the early gains made in the quarter. Chinese equities initially rallied in October, but gains were later reduced as the government's anti-corruption campaign targeted large domestic brokerage firms. The Fed marginally increased base interest rates by 25 basis points for the first time in nine years as employment figures held steady at the Fed's target. For the quarter, stock and bond funds had net outflows of $67 billion and$29 billion, respectively. Total money market mutual fund assets increased by $90 billion to $3.523 trillion. The unemployment rate fell from 5.1% to 5.0%. The price of oil fell from $45 per barrel to $37 during the quarter, a decrease of 17.8%, reflecting the general downward movement of commodities.