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Use select charts from the Guide to the Markets to engage in portfolio discussions.

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Alternative strategies

Adding alternative assets to a diversified portfolio can help investors dampen volatility and potentially increase returns over the long term.

Diversified sources of income

With interest rates at historic lows, investors should think about diversifying across asset classes and internationally to achieve higher income.

Diversifying fixed income

Investing beyond traditional "core" U.S. investment grade bonds into core complement and extended sectors may provide benefits regardless of the rate and inflationary environments.

Dividend-paying equities

With the prospect of rising rates, investors can no longer focus exclusively on the bond market for income-generating solutions. Dividend-paying equities provide income and the potential for gains as dividend payout ratios potentially improve as the recovery continues.

Emerging markets

Economic growth in emerging markets has been almost double that of developed markets over the past decade. Emerging economies appear positioned to be major contributors to global growth in the coming years.

Equities

Although the S&P 500 has more than doubled since its low in March 2009, investors have continued to heavily favor bonds over stocks. It is important that investors recognize the growth potential and diversification benefits of equities in a well-balanced portfolio.

Europe

Putting aside debate around Europe's long-term prospects, we believe the recent economic recovery could lead to strong earnings growth in the years to come. Although Europe still faces headwinds, the region presents opportunities for global investors.

Fixed income

Today, fixed income investors face the impact of eventual rising rates yet still need bonds for diversification. Investing across core, core complement and extended fixed income sectors may help generate income, reduce volatility and hedge interest rate risk.

International opportunities

A global snapshot reveals strong growth momentum in many international markets. Yet, U.S. investors remain underallocated to them.

Staying balanced in volatile markets

Building and maintaining an appropriate asset allocation can help increase returns and reduce volatility over time. Market volatility can be an opportunity to rebalance back to an allocation that reflects your investment and income objectives, time horizon and tolerance for risk.

The U.S. economy

Since March 2009, the stock market has more than doubled while fund flows overwhelmingly favored bonds over equities. This is why it is important to maintain perspective. Despite headwinds and negative headlines, the economy and equity markets have continued to recover.