We began 2018 expecting a rough ride—and we got it. Global growth was strong in the first half of 2018, but eased in the second half. More importantly for investors, the era of easy money was ending, and with it came a likely end to the nearly uninterrupted rise in risk assets. Trade protectionism and other political threats also justified caution.
Even forearmed, it’s been difficult at times to navigate the increasingly turbulent investing conditions, particularly during the last quarter, when markets staged a prolonged sell-off encompassing nearly every major asset. Bond fund redemptions increased as credit spreads widened in the US and Europe, and part of the US yield curve inverted, leading many investors to worry that a recession is around the bend.
Will 2019 deliver more of the same turbulence? Very possibly. Financial markets are transitioning from an unusually supportive environment to a more volatile one of slower growth, reduced liquidity and heightened political risk. In other words, investing will remain challenging.
We are focused on three major themes to help us navigate today’s market environment.