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August was a month that most in the investment industry would like to forget. Weaker than expected economic data, Standard and Poor’s credit downgrade of U.S. sovereign debt and increasing nervousness regarding Europe’s financial health all contributed to a market correction not seen since the dark days of 2008. From peak to trough during the month, the S&P 500 fell 16.5%. In a massive flight to safety, 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds yielded 1.99% on August 18. We haven’t seen Treasury rates that low since the Eisenhower administration—a telling sign that investors are pessimistic about our country’s economic prospects.
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