Why this year could be better for stocks

The U.S. stock market did not have a happy holiday. The Standard & Poor’s 500 was down approximately 12 percent for the fourth quarter of 2018, and the large market drop the day before Christmas, ordinarily a quiet trading session, was record-breaking.

Yet the news during this period was mixed. On the negative side, there was the ongoing trade war with China, another Federal Reserve interest rate increase, the government shutdown and executive branch instability, and greater uncertainty around the UK exit from the European Union. On the positive side, corporate profits remained strong (bolstered by the largest corporate tax cut in history), the Conference Board’s leading economic indicators pointed to further growth and consumer spending during the holidays set another record.

Moving your 401(k)to an IRA

It is a new chapter and new year, usually with resolutions. One of them could be that you have had enough of your current job, boss and colleagues and want to move to newer pastures.

But what about your company 401(k), where you have diligently stashed away $19,000 every year if you are under 50 years old, or $25,000 if you are over 50? Should you keep it at your employer or move it to a self-managed or adviser-managed IRA?

Exploring the pros and cons of off-market listings

Following are some frequently asked questions about selling and buying off-market listings.

Social Security payouts are not keeping up with inflation

Social Security is one of the few retirement pensions whose annual payments increase over time based on actual inflation. Few other private or public pensions provide this valuable benefit. Neither do annuities.

A recap of the markets in 2018, as well as what to expect in 2019

The year 2018 was one of ebbing expectations. Early in the year the local market was still rather robust with limited inventory and relatively strong demand from buyers. Sellers were still seeing multiple offers – though fewer than last year – and selling prices often exceeded asking prices. This is the model both buyers and sellers had come to expect, the new normal that began in earnest in 2013-2014 as we recovered from the Great Recession.

Then summer arrived. You could almost smell it in the air – buyers had had enough of escalating prices, multiple offers, trying and trying to get a house only to find something that was less than they wanted for more money than they wanted to spend.

Bitcoin: The worst-performing investment of the year

This year has not been kind to most investment asset classes.

U.S. stocks are negative for the year, international stocks (particularly in emerging markets) have been clobbered, commodities are down and even bonds have been unable to provide a positive return. Coming on the heels of 2017, one of the best years for all asset classes, 2018 feels that much more painful.


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