The market's 3% decline in the week ended March 19 may be the low from which the market will rebound, according to BlackRock Chief Equity Strategist Bob Doll.

Despite the turmoil in the Middle East and the potential for nuclear catastrophe in Japan, he said, "Our assessment is that none of these risks have yet derailed, or will derail, the global economic recovery or the longer-term bull market in equities."

Doll doesn't expect noticeable inflation in the developed world and sees "pretty solid momentum" in the global economy.

In the Middle East, the biggest "wild card," he says, is Saudia Arabia, where political disruption would have a bigger impact than what we have seen so far. However, "Saudia Arabia's economic and political systems are more stable than those of its neighbors," he said.

In Japan, chief equity strategist expects reconstruction efforts to only be a temporary drag on growth-unless oil prices rise significantly or the nuclear crisis gets worse.

In the United States, he said that the Federal Reserve is gaining more confidence in the economy. "At the Federal Reserve's policy meeting, central bankers acknowledged the risks of higher oil prices, but also indicated that the Fed had a more upbeat assessment of the overall economy. Corporate profits have remained strong and preliminary indications are that corporations are not being negatively affected by the increase in energy costs. Indeed, corporate hiring plans have been accelerating, and we believe that jobs growth should continue."


U.S. Retirement Assets Perked Up 10% in 2010

American workers exited 2010 with more than $10.2 trillion invested in employer-sponsored retirement plans, up 10% from the $9.3 trillion in play at the close of 2009, according to a new report from Spectrem Group.

The beefed-up portfolios are just the latest sign that investors are finally starting to regain confidence in the market and, perhaps more important, making a concerted effort to stash away assets for their golden years.

The last time employer-sponsored retirement plans were almost as flush was back in 2007 when workers invested a total of $10.3 trillion.

Individual retirement accounts were even more popular last year, surging more than 12% to a total of $4.8 trillion.


Demand for Retirement Income Expanding: FRC

The market for retirement income products is expanding, according to a new report from Financial Research Corp., "Cracking the Code to Retirement Income: Key Developments and Opportunities." Investors of all ages are recognizing the need for retirement income, according to FRC. While people of younger ages are purchasing these products, it appears that older investors are delaying taking income withdrawals until they reach their 70s.

The result, FRC said, is an opportunity to market retirement income products to a broader age segment.

At the same time, it appears that even some retirement accumulation products are incorporating retirement income elements, FRC said.


Qoute of the Week

"The headline data points to sturdy growth in the quarters ahead, and with household incomes supported by tax cuts and businesses incented to invest, real GDP looks set to grow by 3.0% in 2011."

- Craig Alexander

Chief Economist, TD Ameritrade

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