Ghosts of Christmas Past

After a very positive year for investors in 2019, we expect lower positive returns on financial assets in 2020 as some Ghosts of Christmas Past reappear. We don't expect a global or US recession, and anticipate a modest growth and profits rebound now that worst case trade outcomes may be avoided. Even so, high valuations, reduced effectiveness of monetary easing, the repricing of unprofitable companies and rising corporate cost pressures will likely constrain the equity market's advance. The two big risks that could cause problems for investors: (a) a spike in inflation that forces the Fed to make a U-turn on policy rates, and (b) a comprehensive progressive restructuring of the US economy after the 2020 election.

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