Changing market conditions over the last five years have taught us a few things about managing risk. The most important lesson? Delivering downside protection constantly requires refining and adjustment.
We’ve been doing some de-cluttering at my house, adapting to life as empty nesters. During a review of some long-forgotten storage bins, I found the very first tax return I ever filed. It listed income of less than $2,000, earned lifeguarding and shelving books at the campus library.
At the beginning of every year, we update what’s typically one of our most popular pages, the Periodic Table of Commodity Returns. I encourage you to explore 10 years’ worth of data on basic materials such as aluminum, zinc and everything in between. A word of warning, though—the interactive feature makes the table highly addictive.
Domestic stocks were a great place to invest in 2017, but hopefully you didn’t overlook opportunities overseas. Emerging markets had a gangbusters year, surging more than 37.5 percent with dividends reinvested, as measured by the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.
As it is for people, so it is for business cycles, which can become more vulnerable as they continue. This theory will certainly be tested in 2018. The global economy enters this year with considerable momentum and lots of policy support.
I believe these forces behind the fear trade will only intensify in 2018. With inflation finally showing green shoots and President Donald Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax reform law expected to increase deficit spending, this year could provide the right conditions to spur gold prices higher.
As we head into the New Year, I want to share with you the five most popular Frank Talk posts of 2017. One common theme you’ll see in these posts is they all center on the topic of gold. Although we specialize in educating investors about gold and managing gold funds, it’s worth noting that our gold posts garnered more interest than our bitcoin and blockchain posts in this year of cryptocurrency craze.
The economic news this year could scarcely have been better. Strong growth, low inflation and rising asset prices in major markets will make 2017 one of the most successful years in recent memory.
With the year quickly coming to a close, it might be time to start thinking about rebalancing the gold holdings in your portfolio. That includes bullion, jewelry, gold stocks and well-managed gold funds—all of which I recommend giving a collective 10 percent weighting. Because it’s been such a strong year for stocks—they’ve advanced more than 20 percent as of today—it’s likely that most investors will need to add to their gold exposure to meet that 10 percent weighting as we head into 2018.
In its November report, mortgage security firm Freddie Mac called 2017 the “best year in a decade” for the housing market by a variety of measures. These include low inflation, strong job growth and historically-low mortgage rates. This assessment is very encouraging, not just for homebuyers and builders and the U.S. economy in general, but also for commodities, resources and raw materials as we head into 2018.