Investors should be looking ahead to determine what, if any, changes they want to make in their portfolios in 2011.
The Federal Reserve's controversial second round of quantitative easing is slated to continue until mid-2011.
Here are five themes that you'll probably be following throughout 2011.
Deficits remain a concernThe legislation that extends tax cuts for almost everyone adds an estimated $858 billion to the federal budget deficit in the next two years alone. Deficit hawks are crying foul, while economists are saying the combination of tax cuts and unemployment benefits should add about 1 percentage point to U.S. economic growth next year. And one of the best ways to cut the deficit is to grow the economy, says Paul Zemsky, the head of asset allocation at ING Investment Management.
The stated goal of the Fed's quantitative easing was to lower interest rates across the board in hopes of spurring more lending and increasing economic growth.
Yields on the 10-year Treasury bond rose in the wake of the announcement, which some experts attribute to concerns that the U.S. deficit is becoming unsustainable. Moody's even issued a warning cautioning policymakers about the budget deficit.
"There's definitely still risk, particularly with Spain, which is probably too big to save if it got into a big problem," Zemsky says.
Trouble for TreasurysSince the financial panic of 2008, investors have piled into bond funds because of their perceived safety and shunned more volatile stock funds.
Rising yields are generally associated with an economic recovery, but rising bond yields mean falling bond prices, which will lead to losses in certain funds -- such as those that are heavy on Treasurys.
"The only rationale that I can see for being in Treasury-type bonds is that I'm so worried about everything else that I just want to hide out because it's very difficult to concoct a longer-term story that you're going to increase your wealth in real terms by owning bonds," says Brett Gallagher, deputy chief investment officer for Artio Global Management.
As the economy recovers, Zemsky says he expects Treasury yields to rise from about 3% currently to a more typical 5%.
There are other opportunities in the fixed-income market, Zemsky says, like corporate and high-yield bonds, the latter of which yield roughly 8%.
"They represent a good halfway point between high-quality bonds and stocks, in terms of risk and reward," he says.