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Winter 2019: Perspectives and Planning

With apologies to Charles Dickens, 2018 was the “best of times and the worst of times”. The U.S. economy apparently grew at its fastest pace since 2005. (We don’t know for sure as the Bureau of Economic Analysis was shuttered due to the impasse in Washington, although the Bureau of Labor Statistics has remained open.) For the full year 2018, we estimate that GDP advanced just over 3%1. The S&P 500 index, on the other hand, fell by 4.4%2, posting its first negative return in a decade. Benchmarks for smaller capitalization stocks and foreign shares suffered double digit declines. Bonds managed to finish the year essentially flat, erasing earlier losses.

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