Although the economy is faring better than expected this year, we see a mixed bag of signals. For
example, while popular market-capitalization weighted stock indices are up for the year, the average stock is essentially flat. Moreover, the outlook for corporate profits and capital spending are flattening out, suggesting muted growth in the private sector ahead. Similarly, monetary and fiscal policies have diverged. Monetary policy is restrictive (higher interest rates), while fiscal policy is expansive (rising deficits). Cross currents such as these lead to a neutral read of incoming data, suggesting we keep portfolio risk exposure very close to benchmarks.