Market commentary, 4th Quarter 2019

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Markets were largely up for the quarter as investors reacted to easing trade tensions and reduced fears of a recession. U.S. stocks (S&P 500) were up 9.07% on an accommodative Fed policy, logging their best year (+31.5%) since 2013. Emerging markets and foreign developed markets were up 11.84% and 8.17%, respectively, on a weaker dollar as well as positive trade news. The Federal Reserve cut rates once in October as multiple risks remained in the market and inflation remained below target. Investors decreased their holdings of domestic stock mutual funds/ETFs, but increased their holdings in world stock and bond mutual funds/ETFs. The U.S. added 553,000 jobs this quarter, and the unemployment rate remained at 3.5%. The price of oil increased from $54 to $61 a barrel over the quarter.