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Market momentum, global participation, and technical support all provide reasons to think gains may not be over for 2019. While volatility is always possible, record highs need not be feared, and seasonal tendencies may remain a tailwind.
Consumer spending has powered the U.S. economy this year as businesses curb investments. We expect growth to slow next year, but a strong U.S. labor market and solid consumer spending will likely fend off a recessionary environment.
The stock market has been hovering near record highs despite an assortment of economic and geopolitical risks. Risks that might spook the markets include trade tensions, bond markets, U.S. manufacturing, Fed policy, and geopolitical concerns.
Stocks have been on a bumpy path, but we just entered one of the market’s historically strongest periods. Some headwinds still prevail, but we expect them to be temporary speedbumps for this bull market.
Corporate earnings growth has slowed, weighed down by concerns over tariffs and ongoing trade uncertainty. However, we’re optimistic that progress on trade will occur and earnings growth could pick up. We think better times lie ahead.
Geopolitical matters have complicated the tug-of-war between fiscal and monetary policies, contributing to investor concerns about uncertainty. Policy uncertainty will likely persist, but we think financial markets will climb this wall of worry.
The U.S. economy continues to perform well compared to the rest of the developed world and is still exhibiting growth near its long-term trend. The outlook in other developed economies is not quite as bright.
There’s a growing pile of negative-yielding debt around the world amid extraordinary monetary policy initiatives. While maintaining respect for global money flows, we believe the combination of economic fundamentals, domestic monetary policy, and a widening federal budget deficit limit the prospects for sub-zero yields in the United States.
We lowered our 2019 earnings growth forecast for the S&P 500 due to increased risk to economic growth and corporate profits from the ongoing U.S.-China trade conflict. Until we get clarity on trade, we believe earnings likely will continue to grow but only modestly.