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Dow loses 7.18% in one day due to the Asian Economic Crisis

Dow Jones closes the year at 7,908

US 10-year Treasury yields 6.58%


Michael Harding begins his Career at Morgan Stanley

Google is founded

Europeans agree on a single currency, the Euro


The number of internet users world-wide is 150 million, half of whom are located in the US

Qualcomm stock rose 2,619 percent during 1999 and 12 stocks on the NASDAQ that started the year over $5 managed to climb at least 1,000 percent


In March Cisco Systems was trading 150 times earnings, but by April an inflation report caused the speculative technology bubble to burst.  18 years later, Cisco still had not reached its all-time high

Tiger Woods becomes the youngest player to win a Grand Slam in Golf

Blockbuster declines an offer to buy Netflix for $50 million. By 2010 Blockbuster was bankrupt and by 2018 Netflix was worth $121 billion with 137 million subscribers

US GDP is $10.48 trillion


After receiving the Director’s Award for performance in the top 3% of his peers nationwide, Michael Harding takes an opportunity to move to Merrill Lynch, expanding his experience working with high net worth clients who have a diverse set of sophisticated financial needs.

Enron files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after hiding billions of dollars of debt from its shareholders

Apple releases the iPod

9-11 terrorist attacks resulted in thousands of deaths, more than $60 billion in insurance losses and the displacement of approximately 18,000 small businesses in Lower Manhattan


US and Afghan troops launch Operation Anaconda against al-Qaeda and Taliban

Tom Brady wins his first of 5 Super Bowls

Stock Market reaches lows not seen since 1997

Dow Jones closes the year at 8,361


Apple launches iTunes selling 10 million songs within 4 months of launch

US and Britain launch war against Iraq.  Over the next 18 years, congress approved nearly a trillion dollars for the operations

Pixar releases Finding Nemo, grossing more than $340 million


Facebook is launched as a social networking site only open to students from Harvard

Martha Stewart spends 5 months in prison for lying about potential insider trading to investigators

US crude oil hits an all-time high of $41.48

Boston Red Socks win the World Series and end the Curse of the Bambino


Michael Harding completes his Certified Financial Planner designation and in doing so recognizes the importance of Fiduciary Duty* – a responsibility Brokerage firms do not require of their Advisors. Through much research, Michael determined the Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) model is the model under which he would want his own money managed, therefore;

In 2005 Harding Financial Group was founded with the sole purpose of placing the client interests first.

Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast creating the biggest natural disaster in US history only to be followed by Hurricane Rita.  The two hurricanes did more than $200 billion in damage,  400,000 jobs were lost and 250,000 homes destroyed

The television show, The Office, premiered to mediocre ratings

Myspace declined Mark Zuckerberg’s offer to sell Facebook for $75 million.  In 2018 Facebook was valued at $397 billion

YouTube was founded


Total iTunes song downloads reach one billion

Saddam Hussein is convicted of crimes against humanity by an Iraqi court and hanged in Baghdad

War breaks out between Israel and Lebanon

Twitter was created


Apple releases the first iPhone

The Chinese Yongle encyclopedia, completed in 1408, was the largest encyclopedia ever created until Wikipedia finally surpassed it in 2007

US housing bubble bursts when year-over-year home prices drop by 2%-15%

Dow Jones closes the year at 13,264

4th Quarter Commentary 2007

“Having begun an asset rotation for all my clients during the fall of 2006 and completing the transition at the end of summer 2007, I’m confident we are in a good position for the difficult markets ahead.  I eliminated nearly all financial positions, held Oil and Energy, added to Aerospace and Defense and shorted Consumer Discretionary and Retailers.  2007 was a good year.  2008 will be much more difficult…”

Michael R. Harding, CFP ®


Bernie Madoff admits to running the largest Ponzi scheme in history defrauding investors of 18 billion

Bear Sterns fails

Lehman Brothers fails

After years of making sub-prime loans to individuals and families who, in the past, could not have qualified for a mortgage, banks were holding portfolios of loans that would never be repaid, leading to the collapse of most of the US banking system

In the first iteration of bailouts for the banking sector, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 authorized the Treasury to spend up to $700 billion to purchase distressed assets from banks

Dow Jones closes the year at 8,776


By 2009, HFG had grown to serve clients in Ohio, North Carolina, Indiana, Florida, Missouri, Rhode Island, Texas, Maryland, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Michigan.

Michael Jackson dies at age 50

March 9th stocks bottom out with the S&P at 700 and the Dow Jones at 6,517, a 13-year low

A hedge fund manager interviewed by The New York Times advises well-off clients to buy shotguns to protect themselves against social unrest


An earthquake in Haiti kills 160,000 and destroys the majority of the capital Port-au-Prince

Greece requests a $53 billion bailout

The Flash Crash, a glitch in automated trading, sends the Dow plunging almost 1,000 points in minutes

Ben Bernanke tells Congress that the outlook for the economy is “unusually uncertain”

US GDP is $15.23 trillion

US 10-year Treasury yields 3.73%


A 9.0 magnitude earthquake and 100-foot high tsunami pummeled Japan’s northeastern shoreline, killing at least 28,000 people and displacing 465,000

Citigroup stock remains unable to maintain a price above $5, a stock price level below which many mutual funds and pension funds are prohibited from investing. The company announces a 10-for-1 reverse stock split, lowering the number of shares outstanding by 90% and raising the per share price to $45

Citigroup CEO, Vikram Pandit, announces a Key Employee Profit Sharing Plan where top executives can earn an additional $1.7 million to $5.2 million if Citigroup can reach a goal of corporate pretax income levels below those earned in 2010

Osama bin Laden is killed by US special forces


Michael Phelps wins his 19th Olympic medal becoming the Olympian athlete with the most medals of all time

Apple shares fall 30% while the broad market is up more than 13% for the year

A single trader at JPMorgan Chase loses billions on risky investments

Dow Jones closes the year at 13,104, 100% above the lows of 2009

2nd Quarter Commentary 2012

“Investors should maintain a blended asset allocation that fits their long-term (7-10 year) objectives. Volatility is likely to increase, but despite all the doom and gloom, stocks remain attractively priced and have significant upside potential…”

Michael R. Harding, CFP ®


Boston marathon bombings kill 3 and injure hundreds

“Frozen,” the highest-grossing animated film of all time, is released

The unemployment rate is 7.9%


Due to the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” the ALS foundation received $100.9 million in donations compared to $2.8 million during the same period the year before

After riots in Ferguson, Missouri, shares of TASER, a wearable body camera company, rose 70%

Bitcoin drops from $1,000 to $300

Unemployment rate drops below 6% for first time since 2008

1st Quarter Commentary 2014

“I’ve learned the wisdom of the proverb “Perfect is the enemy of the good.”  My definition of good is building a portfolio specifically designed to give an individual client the opportunity to earn a return which will allow for the accomplishment of lifetime spending goals, but not introduce so much volatility the investor can’t sleep at night during periods such as 2008-2009. If a portfolio, developed over years, has met the goal of sustaining lifetime spending needs, the introduction of greed can only hurt the investor.”

Michael R. Harding, CFP ®


In 2015 HFG was awarded a place on the fee-based top planners list for the first time in Columbus Business First.

The Federal Reserve signals it is ready to raise rates, but keeps rates at historic lows until raising it by a quarter point in December

Oil prices collapse reaching $34 per barrel after being over $100 a year earlier


Major US indices experience a 10% loss in the first two weeks of trading

Japanese government 10-year bond yield hits zero

Wells Fargo admitted to a multi-year scam that created millions of unrequested, fee-generating customer accounts

Wells Fargo CEO, John Stumpf, resigns taking more than $130 million in compensation

Following the election of Donald Trump, the broad markets rallied 12% through year-end

4th Quarter Commentary 2016

“There has been a paradigm shift in the market.  What worked the past eight years will not be what works the next four…the Trump Administration has not taken office, nor have they begun in earnest the anticipated conflict with both sides of the aisle.  This change in power could be fraught with more conflict and resulting market volatility than has historically been the case because of the substantial change in perspective this administration will bring to Washington….”

Michael R. Harding, CFP ®


Normal economic growth returns with the first three-quarter streak of 3% growth in 14 years

Amazon buys Whole Foods

Bitcoin trades at $17,000

Dow Jones closes the year at 24,719

US GDP is $19.39 trillion


Volatility returned with 1% swings on 28 trading days during the first quarter

Unemployment bottoms at 3.7%

Bitcoin drops from $17,242 to $3,178, an 82% decline

Federal Reserve raises rates 4 times throughout the year

Stocks suffer the worst December since 1931 with the largest Christmas Eve decline ever, losing 2.90% during the holiday shortened session

3rd Quarter Commentary 2018

“While our economy is very strong…warning signs are there. Investors must proceed with caution. An aggressive Federal Reserve, a palpable animus in Washington and extraordinary valuations (Shiller P/E ratio for the S&P500 stands at 33x as of September 15, reaching its highest level ever outside 1929 and the late 1990’s) all point to more difficult sailing ahead.”

Michael R. Harding, CFP ®


The Federal Reserve quickly backs off their scheduled rate hikes as the inverted yield curve signals a recession

The federal reserve ultimately cuts interest rates 3 times during the year

On the back of easy money and Federal Reserve cuts, the S&P rose 29% for the year

4th Quarter Commentary 2019

“The market simply can’t get too many interest rate cuts and the Fed now seems particularly inclined to feed that addiction. In this environment, the best thing investors can do is cautiously embrace the simple logic of “Don’t fight the Fed.”

Michael R. Harding, CFP ®


January 20, 2020 – First case of Coronavirus is reported in the United States

February 19, 2020 – S&P 500 hits an all-time high of 3,386

March 15th Federal Reserve cuts rates to zero and relaunches quantitative easing

During March the Stock market experiences unprecedented volatility seeing regular moves of 1,000 points in both directions with a loss of 9.5% on a single day, March 16th

March 26, 2020 Initial unemployment claims surged to 3.28 million for the week ending March 21. The previous record was 659,000

After hitting it’s all time high on February 19, the S&P 500 lost 39% by March 23rd

1st Quarter Commentary 2020

“The patient investor will do best if they don’t succumb to the fear but remain focused on slowly building positions on pullbacks. Remember, maximum pessimism is maximum financial opportunity.”

Michael R. Harding, CFP ®


The Federal reserve and congress take unprecedented action to flood the economy with money

August 18, 2020 The S&P 500 hits an all time closing high of 3,389

December 2020, weekly continuing unemployment claims remain at 5.51 million – nearly equal to the peak of the 2008-2009 recession

4th Quarter Commentary 2020

“If for any reason, growth does not materialize, and 2021 earnings come in lower than expected, indications are the market may be 25% overvalued. While for now there is a floor under equity prices [Due to federal reserve action and unprecedented government stimulus], prices ultimately must be justified by earnings.”

Michael R. Harding, CFP ®

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