Market commentary, 4th quarter 2016

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The election of a Republican president and Congressional majority ushered in a wave of market optimism. U.S. stocks were up 3.82% on the prospect of lower taxes and regulatory rollback stemming from the Republican agenda. Higher interest rates in the United States and a stronger dollar caused investors to exit emerging market stocks, which were down 4.16%. The Federal Reserve increased the short-term interest rate by 25 basis points after inflation figures pointed upward and employment data remained consistent. Mutual fund investors decreased their holdings in both stocks and bonds. For the quarter, stocks and bonds had a net outflow of $92.4 billion and $13.5 billion, respectively. Total money market mutual fund assets increased by $48 billion to $2.8 trillion. Total employment increased by 456,061 jobs this quarter and the unemployment rate declined from 4.9% to 4.7%. The price of oil rose from $48 to $54 a barrel through the quarter.

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