Equity markets continued a mildly upward trajectory over the first quarter. Yet we face headwinds that are in some ways stronger than last year. On the whole, earnings growth rates are slowing substantially. The U.S. is showing signs of moderation in the face of weather impacts and an unofficial strike at west coast ports. U.S. dollar strength is making goods produced here at home less competitive on world mar- kets, which is weighing on export activity. And declining oil prices haven’t yet produced the wave of consumer spending expected. So far the data says we are not spending all of our income growth and en- ergy savings, and are paying down revolving and mortgage debt instead. Pragmatic behavior, to be sure, but less helpful in growing an economy driven 70% by consumption. Poor weather and distribution bot- tlenecks are behind us and we expect the oil price weakness and U.S. dollar strength trends to be short lived. In addition, we expect a bounce back in the second quarter led by the consumer. At 15.5x forecast 2016 earnings, the market is reasonably priced, and we think it still has room to grow. More broadly, economies world-wide look a bit different than just a quarter ago. In contrast to what is happening here, forecasts for Japan are moving higher as quantitative easing continues. The Euro area too finally jumped into the monetary easing realm with a plan to purchase over $60B of securities per month through September 2016. As a result, the euro has declined in value,…