The third quarter was a positive quarter for the markets this year as the major U.S. stock indices continued to increase. The broad market gains were driven by strong economic data, solid earnings growth and improved clarity on global trade. 

Interestingly, those positive factors were often overlooked as news headlines focused on various political firestorms and the continued uncertainty with regard to the U.S. and China trade relationship. But, in what has become a recurring theme for the 2018 market, positive economic and corporate fundamentals once again outweighed unnerving political and geopolitical headlines.

Economic growth continued to be strong during the third quarter, showing GDP growth above 4% annually.  The last time the U.S. economy posted two consecutive quarters of annual GDP growth close to 4% was in mid-2014, and prior to that, it was late 2004.  

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