December 21, 2018
Volatility will always be around on Wall Street, and as you invest for the long term, you hopefully learn to tolerate it. Rocky moments, fortunately, are NOT the norm.
Since the end of World War II, there have been dozens of Wall Street shocks. Wall Street has seen more than 50 pullbacks (retreats of 5 – 9.99%) in the past 73 years. On average, the benchmark fully rebounded from these pullbacks within two months. The S&P has also seen 22 corrections (declines of 10 – 19.99%) and 12 bear markets (drops of 20% or more) in the post WWII era.
Even will all those setbacks the S&P has grown exponentially larger. During the month WWII ended (September 1945), its closing price hovered around 16, YES 16. At this writing it is above 2500. Those two numbers communicate the value of staying invested for the long term. This current bull market has witnessed five corrections. It has risen more than 300% since its beginning even with those stumbles. Investors who stayed in equities through those downturns watched the major indices soar to all-time highs.
Bad market days shock us because they are uncommon. If pullbacks or corrections occurred regularly, they would discourage many of us from investing. A decade ago in the middle of the terrible 2007-09 bear market, some investors convinced themselves that bad days were becoming the new normal. History proved them wrong.
As you ride out this current outbreak of volatility, keep two things in mind. One, your time horizon: you are investing for goals that may be 5,10,20 or more years into the future. One bad market week, month, or year is but a blip on that timeline and in unlikely to have a severe impact on your long run asset accumulation strategy. Remember that there have been more good days on Wall Street than bad ones.
LET’S ASSESS LATE CYCLE RISKS AND OPPORTUNITIES. AND WHAT DO WE SEE AHEAD IN 2019:
- The U.S. economy will slow, but not stall. We expect GDP growth to slow to 2 to 2.5% next year.
- Central banks (The Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan, and the European Central Bank) will continue to tighten monetary policy and raise interest rates. Just this past week the Fed raised rates 0.25% and indicated they will likely raise rates twice, but NOT three times in 2019
- U.S. Equities: earnings growth will slow although it will remain positive. Earnings will still be the main driver of returns.
- The unemployment rate will likely continue to decline from 3.7%, its lowest level since the early 50s.
- Inflation should remain at a level close to 2%.
- Consumer sentiment is negative.
- Trade tariffs still present a hurdle and need resolution.
- The international markets have promise, but look murkier than the U.S. We are continuing to watch BREXIT.
- It is important to stay invested even though it appears we are in the late innings of the bull market.
- A possible government shutdown (see our previous newsletter on this topic).
Even with all of this volatility, the major indices (Dow and S&P) are down only 6 to 8% at this writing. This is NOT another 2007-8-9, although more volatility could still be ahead.
THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES TO REMEMBER ARE THE FOLLOWING:
- You are invested in a diversified portfolio, not all equities.
- Your portfolio is not the market.
- We have planned your portfolio carefully to weather markets like this.
- Sudden volatility should not lead you or us to exit the market. If you react anxiously and move out of equities in response to short term downturns, you may impede your progress toward your long term goals.
If you have any questions about the markets, or your portfolio, please call.
We wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Edward J. Kohlhepp, Jr., CFP®, MBA
Edward J. Kohlhepp, CFP®, ChFC, CLU, CPC, MSPA
Founder & CEO
These are the opinions of Edward Kohlhepp and not necessarily those of Cambridge, are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed or acted upon as individualized investment advice. Diversification and asset allocation strategies do not assure profit or protect against loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investing involves risk. Depending on the types of investments, there may be varying degrees of risk. Investors should be prepared to bear loss, including total loss of principal