1 - A wildly erratic stock market ended 2011 almost exactly where it began. Although the narrow Dow Jones Industrial Average gained a modest 5.5%, the broader S&P 500 ended the year four one-hundredths of a point below where it began the year. If you add in dividends, the S&P finished with a gain of just over 2%. One is reminded of the great Shakespearean phrase: "Full of sound and fury... signifying nothing."
2 - If anything, this year holds the possibility of even more upheaval than last. The presidential election alone should provide ample dramatic interest. Add uncertainty in the eurozone, continuing challenges in the U.S. economy (although there seem to be promising signs in the offing), gridlock in Washington, and the inevitable surprises, and you have the makings of another fascinating year.
3 - Please make plans to attend our January 17 panel discussion, New Realities: The Global Economy. Participating on the panel will be economist Dr. Jody Lipford, Presbyterian College professor of Economics and Business Administration, as well as Scott Hamilton, CEO of Advantage West, Western North Carolina's regional economic development commission. It promises to be a fascinating and enlightening event.
Have a fabulous week!
What in the world happened last year? Take about three minutes to review the major global events of the year just past.