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Market Commentary


Q4|2022 Market Commentary


  • The fourth quarter provided a glimmer of positive light in an otherwise abysmal year in the markets. Let us hope the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train. Inflation appears to be moderating somewhat, but the inflation level is still elevated compared to the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) goal of 2%. December inflation was up 6.5% year-over-year. Hence, the Fed’s persistent hard-core inflation-busting stance. The increase in the federal funds rate has created historic bond market losses in 2022. After three negative quarters plunging 13% for the year, bonds found some stability increasing 1.9% in the fourth quarter. Equity markets also produced positive quarterly results as the S&P 500 large cap stock index rebounded with a 7.6% increase, but finished the year down 18.1%. US small caps increased 6.2% for the quarter, but lost 20.4% for the 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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