For most investors, 2018 is turning out to be a tough row to hoe. Suddenly, nobody is talking about global synchronized growth, low inflation, the benefits of tax cuts, and 20% earnings growth. No, all that is now so 2017. Now investors are focused on slowing global growth, rising rates, an overzealous Fed, a global trade war, plunging oil prices, a rising dollar, risk in the corporate credit markets, and de-FAANGing their portfolios.
However, all this negativity is a rather recent development. Recall that until the beginning of October, the 2018 investing game had been pretty simple. Buy U.S. stocks and focus on those popular momentum-oriented names. Easy peasy, right?
But as is often the case, just about the time everybody had figured out the game, everything changed.
So here we are; staring at just 25 trading days left in the year. The bottom line on this fine Monday morning is that most investors are focusing on the negative and fearing the worst. Gone is the hope that ongoing earnings growth will produce strong stock market returns for as far as the eye could see. In its place is the idea of "correcting" prices for the new normal. A "normal" that includes the word "slowing" in front of just about every bullet point in the market narrative.
A Lot Of Red Out There
In looking at the year-to-date returns of the various asset classes through Friday, the appropriate theme song for the year would be, Nowhere to Run. Take a look at the numbers below and you'll see what I mean.
Man, that's a lot of red.
In fact, Ned Davis Research tells us that this could be the first year since 1972 that none of the top eight asset classes (U.S. Large ...