A December ISM report last week showed U.S. manufacturing health fell to a two-year low. The bulk of data recently has been encouraging, however, especially an excellent December jobs report. We still see a solid U.S. economy struggling with trade tensions, but far from recessionary territory.
ncreased uncertainty around policy risks has contributed to sharp market declines. Growth expectations continue to hold steady in the U.S. and have declined only modestly globally. Several risks still in play could weigh on markets, but the broader economic context remains supportive.
A significant drop in stock market valuations may portend aboveaverage stock market performance, based on history. Stocks also look attractively valued relative to bonds based on a comparison of earnings yields. Though it is difficult to think long term during volatile market environments, low valuations have been closely tied to future positive long-term stock performance.
The S&P 500 Index came about as close as possible to the technical definition of a bear market without officially registering one. We offer some historical perspective on bear markets and our latest thoughts on fundamentals, the Fed, the government shutdown, and the market’s recent low. We encourage investors to remain focused on the fundamentals supporting growth in the economy and corporate profits, and stick with long-term strategies.