The View at the Top of the Year – 2019

Almost two years ago to the month, I penned a commentary on my grandmother’s quilting after what had been at the time, a seemingly volatile period in the markets that resulted in almost a 10% drop in the S&P 500 index.  The date was February 1, 2016.  Fast forward to 2018 and we are again experiencing very volatile markets with some indexes seeing corrective (10%) or bear market (20%) declines from earlier peaks.  Before revisiting that archived missive, here are some past and present figures to consider. 2018 Recap[1] In 2018, the only asset class with positive returns was Cash. All other categories were negative for the year, with the exception of fixed income, which was flat. For more details, see 12/31/18 Quilt Chart below. December was one of the worst months on record and 2018 one of the worst years in a decade. Federal Reserve (FED) raised rates 4 times and lowered expectations for real gross domestic product (GDP) growth and inflation. FED has lowered 2019 rate hike expectations from 3 in September to 2 at the December meeting. Read on! →