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Market Review and Outlook

December 23, 2014

The financial markets are always changing, and today – more than ever – it’s important to stay in the know about them because what happens can have a big impact on your financial future.

The investment professionals at COUNTRY Trust Bank® – one of the companies in the COUNTRY Financial® family – have put together a comprehensive commentary with their thoughts about the markets. Here are the key takeaways:

Key Takeaways

2014 has been “ideal” for most diversified investors as both large cap U.S. stocks and investment-grade bonds have posted strong total returns.

Low volatility in stock prices has been a theme throughout most of the year despite several key events transpiring.

Interest rates fell from the beginning of the year as international fears took hold and inflation remains subdued.

Oil prices collapsed in the second half of 2014, a boon for energy consumers heading into next year.

In 2015, we feel the U.S. economy is poised to see its strongest growth of the current recovery.

Strength in the U.S. economy is fairly widespread as tailwinds (i.e. low inflation, low interest rates) remain strong.

The international picture remains murky, but we feel there are some potential opportunities in some international stock markets.

We believe stock and bond market volatility is poised to increase in 2015, potentially creating both challenges and opportunities.

Overall, we see stocks as attractive relative to fixed income as market valuations are reasonable and interest rates remain historically low.

Now that you’ve perused the key takeaways, read the full commentary to get the whole story.

You can put these investment professionals to work for you through our Journey Series of Investment Management. Just contact a COUNTRY Financial representative to get started.


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