The second quarter can be summed up in one word, impressive! After a choppy Q1, financial markets responded in a positive fashion posting an outstanding quarter. Equities which had looked tired during Q1 after posting a standout 2013, sprang back to life delivering a strong quarter as sentiment improved with modestly better economic data, continued global monetary policy accommodation and receding geopolitical concerns. Fixed income markets continued to grind higher post a strong first quarter and at mid-year have provided decent returns despite an outlook still less favorable than equities. A good bit of the damage done in 2013 across the fixed income complex has been reversed, but the one caveat remaining is how to avoid asset price declines when interest rates finally do rise meaningfully. From a macroeconomic perspective, while mixed data continues to be the new norm and this looks to have actually benefited risk markets over the past couple of years evidence of a stronger economy is likely needed to push equities further against the backdrop of a potentially higher interest rate environment in the coming years. With the Federal Reserve set to complete the unwinding of its massive asset purchasing program later this year and likely hike interest rates sometime in 2015, the underlying narrative will shift accordingly. That said, with continued sluggishness likely across the global economy and the potential for staged monetary policy retracement equities still look favorable, despite their continued move higher, versus fixed income and cash.