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Driven by the fundamentals of the economy and corporate earnings, U.S. stock indexes moved steadily upwards in 2017. Volatility was at an historic low. The domestic story was aided by the international markets – which finished the year at or near record levels. The star of the market was the Nasdaq Composite Index which posted a 6.8% gain in the fourth quarter and was ahead 28.2%% for the year. Investors were attracted to the product innovations in technology. The impact was felt in the broader market indexes. The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 7.77% for the quarter and ended the year with a 20.40% gain. The S&P 500 was up 6.12% for the quarter and 19.42% for the year. The Russell 2000 index of small and mid cap stocks moved ahead 2.99% for the period and was up 13.14% for the year. 
Preferred Equities: We remain focused on large cap companies with strong balance sheets, sustainable cash flows, and credible business models. Companies that pay attractive dividends are central to our strategy. Some of the sectors getting our attention: 
TECHNOLOGY: We are cautious about this sector – where many stocks are rich – but areas such as bio technology and semi- conductors have our interest. 
INDUSTRIALS: We are giving renewed attention to manufacturing companies – especially in the small business sector – which lagged the market run-up in 2017. 
FINANCIALS: Rising interest rates will make banks more attractive – and our focus is upon regional banks. 
HEALTH CARE: Opportunities exist in this sector because of medical innovations and the needs of the aging baby boomer population. 
INTERNATIONAL: The recovery in the global markets maintains our interest in international exposure for our clients.

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