The markets experienced quite a change in the first quarter of 2018. After enjoying last year’s strong gains in major US and global categories of equities, credit, government bonds and alternatives, many markets sold off in late January and February. Interest rates and rising inflation were on everyone’s minds, and volatility returned with a vengeance.

The first quarter’s market jitters happened against a continuing backdrop of rather robust global economic growth. Manufacturing purchasing managers indexes—both in developed and emerging markets—remain strongly in expansionary territory, although they have come down slightly from their recent peaks. So central banks, such as the Fed, have to tread somewhat carefully to keep monetary policy supportive of continued growth that doesn’t overheat while maintaining a suitable level of inflation that doesn’t overshoot central bank targets.

The issue for investors is to assess opportunities for earnings growth and income without taking on too much risk. It’s important for investors to determine how to participate and also defend in this environment. Ultimately, we believe being selective, being balanced and being global will position investors well for 2018.

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