by Scott Ronalds
Near the end of last year, it seemed like a good time to get out of the market. Stocks were sliding and there was a lot of economic and political uncertainty looming. Plus, the past decade had been good to investors, so why not lock in those healthy gains and wait out the coming downturn.
It was a narrative gaining momentum. And those who called for a troubling year ahead were right. Here’s how it’s played out so far.
- The US—China trade war has escalated, with America slapping hefty tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese goods. China has retaliated with punitive tariffs of their own.
- One-quarter of the world’s sovereign bonds are now yielding negative interest rates in what is uncharted waters for bond investors.
- The calls to break up big American tech companies have grown louder.
- Anti-government protests have rocked Hong Kong and been a blow to companies in the region.
- Canada’s yield curve inverted (which is a flashing signal to some observers of a coming recession).
- China posted its slowest pace of economic growth in a quarter of a century.
- Any potential resolution to Brexit has been kicked further down the road.
- Several retailers have filed for bankruptcy, including Barneys, Forever 21 and Gymboree.
- A number of prominent IPOs have flopped.
- The US Federal Reserve has cut its key interest rate twice on concerns over slowing growth.
- Germany, Europe's growth engine, has likely fallen into a recession.
- An impeachment inquiry began against Donald Trump.
And there’s still seven weeks to go in 2019.
But a funny thing’s happened. Global stocks are up over 15% this year and the Canadian market’s up even more.
It’s a great reminder that you simply can’t time the market. No matter how tempting it might look.
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