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Second Quarter Summary
Stocks recouped their modest losses from the first quarter, although volatility remains notably higher relative to last year’s ultra-low levels. The threat of a trade war, the flattening yield curve, and an increased federal budget deficit remain among market participants chief concerns. Another serious risk – the threat of war with North Korea – has been reduced after a June summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un in Singapore, although full scale denuclearization of the Korean peninsula remains uncertain as of this writing. These risks were more than offset, at least for the time being, by the strength exhibited by the U.S. economy and robust corporate earnings. The S&P 500 increased 3.4% over the span of the second quarter, bringing its year to date gains, through 6/30, to a moderate 2.65%.