A year ago, we wrote that all we wanted for Christmas was a bull market.  Thank you, Santa!  We thought we had been good but never thought we were that good. The 4th quarter continued the trend that existed all year with markets ending on a strong note.  For the first time since 2012, international markets outperformed the US.  The weakness of the dollar relative to the Euro and the Yen represented the primary contributor to international’s strength.  When viewed from a local market perspective, Japan maintained the same strength as the US while Europe lagged given the lower growth and banking issues that continued to hamper earnings growth. Emerging markets recovered from the lackluster 2016 and had a very robust year as global economic activity allowed for better earnings built on less expensive valuation levels.

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