At InvesTrust, we give our clients peace of mind and stability. They know we protect their wealth with steadfast professionalism — with ethics and expertise that are not shaken by trends or gimmicks. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that all investments are subject to risk, including loss of principle. Risk is defined as fluctuation in returns from one period to the next and the potential for loss. A well diversified portfolio may help investors reduce the risk associated with investing. Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. The U.S. economy is now in its eighth year following the “great recession”. Under normal circumstances, we would expect that a recovery lasting eight years might be a little long in the tooth: the average since 1950 has been just over five years. GDP grown at an annualized rate in excess of 5% and only twice has it grown in excess of 4%. The average number of greater than 5% quarters for the preceding ten post-war expansions has been seven. The stock market, reputed to be the best market harbinger of economic growth or decline, has been in a bull market for over eight years and is near all time highs. On the other hand, fixed income markets, sporting absurdly low yields — below 2% for ten-year U.S. Treasuries and negative for many international debts — suggest anemic prospects for the economy. FactSet, earnings would have been mostly positive without its negative impact, this does not, on its own, justify record high prices or an almost 20 multiple on trailing earnings. Either the stock market is extremely forgiving of lackluster earnings — not its reputation — or factors other than earnings are driving stock prices. High interest rates obviously discourage borrowing and encourage savings, results that reduce economic activity and limit equity earnings. In addition, high interest rates raise the bar for stock returns, causing investors to require either higher earnings and/or dividends (difficult in a period of reduced economic activity) or lower stock prices.