Market Musings | November 2018

Stocks might climb a wall of worry, but that wall has gotten a lot higher lately and stocks have been taking it on the chin. Since the S&P 500 hit an all-time high in early October, the list of concerns seemed to grow exponentially. As of this writing, we know the outcome of most of the midterm elections, but in the runup to them, uncertainty over which party would end up controlling the government cast a dark cloud over the market as October progressed. Midterms may be out of the way, but the ongoing trade rift with China remains problematic for markets. Tariffs are set to go from 10% to 25% in January, and rumors swirl almost daily about the possibility of still more tariffs against China, even including tariffs on ALL Chinese imports. Also, in early October comments by Federal Reserve Chief Jerome Powell in an interview were taken as hawkish and seen as a portraying an intransigence, i.e. no longer data driven, regarding the forward path of interest rate policy. This episode cast the Federal Reserve as a villain in its pursuit to normalize policy. Read More