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Stocks got off to a rough start but rebounded strongly in the second half of the quarter to end close to where they started.  Concerns early in the quarter over slowing growth in China, plunging oil prices, and a slowdown in the U.S. economy led to double-digit losses for U.S. and international stocks.   Then, a sharp rise in oil prices, supportive central bank monetary policy, and steady U.S. economic data led to a swift recovery for markets.

After six years of strong performance and unusually calm markets, volatility picked up in 2015 and returns were flat or down for asset classes across the board (see chart below).  The S&P 500 Index ended the year at about the same place it started but with plenty of ups and downs in between.  

It is not unusual for executives to acquire large positions in their company’s stock through long-term participation in their 401(k) plan. In fact, for someone who has worked at a company for thirty or forty years, their account balances can be in the millions.

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Video Perspectives

Insights from our wealth management advisors

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    January 21, 2015
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    October 10, 2014
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    January 31, 2014