With the beginning of a new year, hope and optimism for a bright future is always top of mind. I am very excited about 2015 for many reasons, but one of my top professional reasons is for what could become of Penn Mutual Asset Management in the years ahead. Today we officially launch the rebranded Independence Capital Management, Inc. (ICMI), with a team of 25 tremendously talented investment professionals. To get to this point, this group has put in a significant amount of work over the past six months, and they have been assisted by numerous associates from Penn Mutual. I have a strong belief that their knowledge, creativity and teamwork will lead to great success in the future. I can't wait to be part of the journey ahead with all of you!
So what about the markets this week? The December employment number is released on Friday, and market action up to then will most likely be driven by the daily gyrations in oil and the U.S. dollar, which have seemed to capture all the headlines during the last few weeks. We expect some early week volatility, possibly pushing oil lower toward the $50/barrel level and then stabilizing. Interest rates most likely trade lower and retest the 2% level on the 10-Year Treasury, while U.S. stocks will remain under some pressure due to the weakening European economy, strong U.S. dollar and falling inflation expectations. We still think the U.S. economy is doing well and that economic data will surprise on the upside in the first quarter of 2015.
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