US & World Economy –
2011 was a wild year for the economy and financial markets. Optimism and continued growth early in the year gave way to fear and double-dip fears in the fall, only to end the year back where we started. (The S&P 500 Index was up 0.003% but the average US Stock fund lost about 3%). The rest of the world did not fair as well: Latin America -22.2%; Europe -15.2%; China -20.2%; India -39.1%. Remarkably, despite continued negative headlines, no country is currently in an announced recession. In fact, worldwide growth appears to have picked up in the forth quarter, especially in the US where auto and retail had their biggest gains in years. The S&P 500 will report not only record earnings, but earnings 15-20% higher than their 2007 peak.