THE ECONOMIC QUARTER IN BRIEF

In investing, patience is often a virtue. For an illustration of why it matters, simply look at the opening quarter of 2016. Stocks plunged in January and fell further in early February, and a bear market seemed a possibility. Then, Wall Street turned around. The Dow staged its greatest quarterly comeback in 83 years, rising more than 7% in March alone and ending March slightly positive YTD. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite each gained more than 6.5% in March. It was a quarter marked by rebounds; in stock indexes, in some key economic indicators, in oil prices, in bullish sentiment. Even terrorist attacks could not deter the bulls, and the central bank decisions of the quarter only helped them.

DOMESTIC ECONOMIC HEALTH

Arguably the most reassuring development of the quarter for Wall Street occurred in March, when the Federal Reserve not only refrained from raising interest rates, but also scaled back its forecast for rate hikes across the rest of the year. A revised dot-plot issued by the central bank showed a consensus forecast for two rate increases rather than the previously assumed four.

QUARTERLY TIP:  When is the ideal time to talk to a tax professional? Late April, May, or June. You can discuss your financials and map out a long-run plan for tax savings, apart from the hubbub that precedes the federal tax deadline.

QUOTE OF THE QUARTER: “The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered.”  –Robert Fulghum