What a difference a quarter makes! It was a volatile start to the year, caused largely by the lack of direction in the political world, particularly Europe. After government institutions demonstrated their intent to do whatever it takes in the near term to provide liquidity, the equity markets responded positively with the S&P 500 Index up 16.4% through the third quarter, EAFE up 10.6%, and the Emerging Markets Index up 12.3%. The returns over longer time periods also began to look healthier. The S&P 500 Index was up 30.2% over the twelve months ending September 30th, resulting in an annualized return of 8.01% over ten years. These market advances have occurred not long after many pundits were giving the last rites to equity markets following the “lost decade” of 2001-2010 when the S&P 500 Index turned in an annual compound return of only 1.4%.