Global financial markets experienced heightened volatility during the fourth quarter of 2018 as concerns surrounding higher interest rates here in the U.S., and uncertain trade and tariff relations worldwide, weighed heavily on investor sentiment. We present a few highlights from the 4Q18 below: U.S. equity markets sold off sharply during the fourth quarter in volatile and choppy trade, with large intra-day moves the norm. In this risk-off environment, the S P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite traded sharply lower. On the economic front, U.S. economic data remained strong. However, there are potential international and domestic headwinds that could dampen growth, particularly uncertainty surrounding trade policy for U.S. businesses. Developed international equity markets posted steep declines in tandem with those here in the U.S. Financial markets in the Eurozone generally lagged those in the Pacific ex-Japan region as Brexit worries persisted.
By Chad Roope CFA, Lead Portfolio Manager - Fundamentum The recent equity market correction has no doubt been uncomfortable. As of the end of year close, the SP 500 ended the year to date down 6.24%. Concerns about slowing global economic growth, worries that the Federal Reserve is pushing interest rates too far too quickly, fears around the US/China trade war and uncertainties about a US Government shut down have all combined to create downside volatility that weve not experienced in a few years. While we agree this is all concerning and that we are likely to continue to see more volatility in the shorter-run, we do not see an economic recession in 2019 based on the data we see today. US corporate earnings growth is likely to be reasonably strong in the first half of 2019, manufacturing data remains in expansionary readings in the US, US unemployment continues to be at historically low levels, and consumer confidence remains relatively high as well. Those are all good signs as well