The stock market, over the past year, was a story of two halves. In the first half of the year the market experienced exceptional profitability for most companies and excessive liquidity was brought on by private equity groups and hedge funds. This led to a record number of buyout deals and all time highs in the major indices. By the middle of the summer the Dow Jones Industrials had advanced 19% and the S&P 500 gained about 15%. Since then the markets have been thrown about by fear stemming from the worst housing market in decades. It has caused banks to freeze lending even among each other and has led the Federal Reserve to try unprecedented tactics to jumpstart the economy back into normalcy. This has left most, if not all, participants in the market leaving 2007 with negative feelings. However, as the year ended, the markets advanced, although fear surrounding the housing market remains. The Dow Industrials finished the year up 6.4% and the S&P 500 gained 3.5%. These are not remarkable gains by most measures but it was not the negative returns most people perceive from 2007.