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Forecasts of 2021 security returns are gaslighting investors into believing the future is bright. But market corrections are highly likely in 2021.

Oxford Dictionaries named “Gaslighting” one of the most popular new words in 2018. The word originated from a 1938 mystery thriller written by British playwright Patrick Hamilton called Gas Light, made into a popular movie in 1944 starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. In the film, husband Gregory manipulates his adoring, trusting wife Paula into believing she can no longer trust her own perceptions of reality.

Accordingly, gaslighting is the act of undermining another person’s reality by denying facts, the environment around them or their feelings. Targets of gaslighting are manipulated into turning against their cognition, emotions, and who they fundamentally are as people.

We are being gaslighted

Investors are being gaslighted by the investment management industry (Wall Street) into thinking that there are no bubbles in stock and bond prices, that the Fed is our savior, and securities markets will always go up.

This is the season for forecasts of next year’s returns. As usual, they are uniformly positive and not too far from historical averages, although they generally acknowledge that the world will still be recovering from the current pandemic. Some even see double digit returns in 2021.