With the Dow opening above 26,000 yesterday morning, I was all set to continue down the same path of my Dow 24K and Dow 25K posts. Alas, it wasn’t to be. Although markets are up, the Dow is below the magic number as I write this, which is certainly okay.
Yesterday, I noted briefly that I would be “keeping an eye” on how long the good times last in the new year. It was one of those offhand comments that, once you think about it, really requires quite a bit more thought and analysis than at first glance.
With interest rates rising recently, I have received a number of questions about what that means for our investments. It’s not as simple a question as you might think. As such, it is worth taking some time to think things through.
The Dow has hit yet another milestone: 25,000. By all means, cue the fireworks, cheering, champagne, and so forth. But since this is the sixth time since the start of 2017 that a 1,000-point milestone has been reached, let’s take a step back. After all, anything that happens six times in 12 months is hardly uncommon—and perhaps not worth getting too excited about.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Catchy beginning, yes? Dickens certainly used it to good effect. As I was thinking about 2017 in retrospect, it seemed almost unavoidably appropriate.
Yesterday’s news that the Democrats won the Alabama special Senate election, for the first time in 25 years, rattled U.S. politics. By taking the Republican majority in the Senate from 52 to 51, it reduces an already tight margin for difficult votes.
Investors are cautioned not to extrapolate 2017’s performance into 2018, and we expect more frequent bouts of volatility. The global bull market is intact, supported by solid global growth and strong corporate earnings. But with the expectations bar now set quite high heading into next year, pullbacks are increasingly possible. Discipline is important looking ahead.
I have been wrestling with what to write about today. There’s not much to add that is new. The economy is doing well, and the data is coming in strong. Although the stock market is reacting to events in Washington, it is still within 1 percent of its all-time highs. From my beat, there is not a lot worth commenting on at the moment.
As I have been saying, things are pretty good, economically speaking, as we approach the end of the year. At the same time, there are some significant risks in the next couple of weeks that we need to keep an eye on.
Many of us were under the assumption that we could go into the holiday season with Europe pretty much checked off the risk list. The economic news is good and getting better, and the major elections that have caused so much angst have passed. Not so fast, bub.