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Market Commentary

Q4|2018 Market Commentary
  • The “word of the day” can be found on everything from Mister Roger’s Neighborhood (a childhood T.V. favorite) to wall calendars.  The “word of the day” for equity markets during the fourth quarter was UN-CER-TAIN-TY. As the equity market shows, it reacts poorly to uncertainty. A few main topics are driving current concerns: the Fed’s response, diminishing growth and trade/tariffs. On October 3rd, Fed President Jay Powell made the following comment, “We may go past neutral, but we’re a long way from neutral at this point, probably” sending markets lower. Since then, the Fed has sent multiple signals in all directions increasing ambiguity.  Slowing global growth seems apparent, but additional questions remain whether a global recession is imminent. Add to the list, the US and China’s currently inflexible trade stances and equity markets developed more volatility. As a result, the US large caps declined 13.5% during the quarter and 4.4% for the year with small cap US stocks dropping 20.2% and 11.0%, respectively. International developed and emerging markets outpaced the US during the quarter, but trailed over the last year.
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Redefining the Retirement Plan
  • Redefining the Retirement Plan is Axia’s guide to trends and strategies that will help employers get the most out of their retirement programs.  Defined Benefit plans and Social Security have been the simple answer to retirement for the past century. Life expectancy has improved though and an added strain has been placed on plan sponsors to help their employees replace their incomes in retirement. Fortunately, employers are equipped with more tools than ever before to help their employees retire with dignity.
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Trump Orders DOL to Re-Examine Fiduciary Rule

The future of the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule is in limbo following a memorandum released last Friday by President Trump. While a draft memo released earlier in the day delayed the implementation date by 180 days, the final memo did not contain such language. Rather, the final version of the memo directs the Department of Labor to re-examine the Rule to determine whether it may adversely affect the manner in which American can receive financial advice.

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Brexit Fears Unfounded As EU Exit Could Take Years

Last week’s vote by the British electorate to end its 43-year membership in the European Union seems to have taken just about everybody by surprise, but the aftermath could not have been more predictable. The uncertainty of how, exactly, Europe and Britain will manage a complex divorce over the coming decade sent global markets reeling. London’s blue chip index, the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100, lost 4.4% of its value in one day, while Germany’s DAX market lost more than 7%. The British pound sterling is getting crushed (down 14% against the yen, 10% against the dollar).

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