United States

Global equity markets back on track


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Global equity markets experienced strong gains in February, more than recovering from the negative returns seen in January. Several major stock indexes including the MSCI World Index experienced their largest monthly returns since October 2011. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average also established new peaks during the month.

Optimism with respect to the U.S. economy has helped drive equity returns. Low gasoline prices continue to leave consumers with more disposable income than in months past. The United States has added an average of 259,000 new jobs per month over the last year through January, including almost one million positions in the last three months. That’s the largest increase in employment in a decade and a half (source: MarketWatch). Both of these factors could help positive trends in consumer spending, which accounts for about two-thirds of GDP in the United States. Lastly, despite a downward adjustment late in February, 4th quarter GDP results were above expectations.

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