Winter 2019 Investment Report
By all definitions, 2018 was a challenging year for investors. The year started off on a high note, as the positive effects of $1.5 trillion in US tax cuts were being factored into an economy that had seen strong growth the year before. While there were periods when the US equity market was driven higher by strong earnings and favorable employment numbers, there were also periods when fears of a slowing economy and tighter monetary policy by the Federal Reserve took equity valuations down. These fears were enhanced in Q4, as companies warned about the impact of a trade war on their operations and a partial US government shutdown set in. Given these uncertainties, companies reduced their forward guidance for 2019 and US stocks lost 13.5% in Q4, ending the year down 4.4% - the first negative calendar year return since 2008.