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INVESTMENTS: Stocks riding high
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INVESTMENTS: Stocks riding high

Times Board of Economists - Report from Mark Ennes, a wealth management adviser at Merrill Lynch

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surpassed 20,000 for the first time in 2017, then crossed the 21,000 threshold for the first time. Since the election, stocks have risen by 8 percent.

“How about that market?” Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Advisor Mark Ennes said. “When I started in 1979, the Dow was at 821.”

In 2017, investors should expect two short-term interest rate hikes, the first one probably in May or June, Ennes said. The 10-year treasury rate should hit 3 percent in the second half of the year, but dip down to 2.8 percent by year’s end.

“We encourage our clients to keep defensive positions in case there’s some negative surprise with growth,” he said.

Growth stocks should include select financials, consumer discretionary, industrial, technology and energy.

Economic growth should be around 2 percent to 2.5 percent, Ennes said.

“Small business owner confidence is off the charts,” he said. “That’s where a lot of the growth happens from within the economy.”


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Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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