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Fourth Quarter Summary
It was a remarkable year for the stock market in many respects. Not only did the S&P 500 increase 21.8% in 2017, but it went up every single month and the biggest intra-year drawdown was a tepid 3%. The last time we had such a combination of strong returns and low volatility was 1995. Catalysts for the sharp increase in stocks included solid economic growth of roughly 3% for GDP and a massive tax law change pushed through Congress and signed by the President as the year came to a close. Although the tax plan had its winners and losers, Corporate America was a clear winner. And as good a year as it was for domestic stocks, many international equity markets fared even better as the global economy got back on track to a greater extent than any time since the Great Recession.