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Monthly Investment Insights

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The Fed hikes rates, but a down December upends stocks for 2015.

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Uncertainty hampered returns for both stocks and bonds during 2015. The Federal Reserve finally raised interest rates at its December meeting. Afterward, investor focus seemed to shift to the rest of the world in search of the weakest link. Although stocks generally posted solid returns for the fourth quarter, a down December tipped most stocks into negative territory for the year. Meanwhile, many bond indices were off modestly for December and the fourth quarter, but positive for the year. Within bonds, higher-quality bonds - including municipal - saw modest gains, while high yield and non-US bonds finished in the red. Most hedge funds were also unable to sidestep the December selloff and lost groun for the year. Master limited partnerships (MLPs) were punished, down more than 30% for 2015. Commodities finished 2015 with a six-month skid, down almost 25% during the year. Conversely, real estate investment trusts (REITs) bucked the trend, posting gains for the month, quarter and year.

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