Over the weekend, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the Swine Flu that spread from its apparent origin in Mexico to the United States cannot be contained. The World Health Organization (WHO) indicated this new strain of flu has potential to become a pandemic. The Obama Administration has declared a public health emergency. The situation is developing rapidly. Markets may begin to react to this news and the potential shock it may pose to the fragile global economy.

Our base case for 2009 is for growth to return to the U.S. economy by yearend and for modest gains in the stock and bond markets. We believe the conditions related to the financial crisis that resulted in the deep recession and bear market, are getting better – as demonstrated by the improvement in the LPL Financial Crisis Conditions Index . . . .

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