You may remember a year ago that most of the market gurus were saying that 2004 would see solid returns for the stock market but a problem for the bond market because of an expected rise in interest rates.

Well, what happened? There was a bit of struggle in the stock market last year although the returns were still solid enough. The S&P 500 showed an 8.4 percent gain, a little less than predicted, and the stocks of smaller companies, with the Russell 2000 as a benchmark, increased by some 16 percent.

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