Repost: December Slide Tumbles Markets for the 2018 Year

Here’s an update for December’s Stock Market performance and global economic concerns from LOM Financial:

The month of December was once again dominated by troubling economic headlines ranging from disruptive global trade negotiations to disturbing U.S. central bank commentary. On top of the steady drum beat of what some are calling dysfunctional political behavior, the U.S. Government’s partial shutdown has added to the negative investor sentiment which has been building all year. Sliding stock prices over the last month of the year added to the fourth quarter market woes, notwithstanding a sharp equity market reversal on the day after Christmas. For the month of December, the S&P 500 declined by -9.03% and the MSCI World Stock index fell by -7.57%. These results capped an overall tumultuous year where the MSCI World declined by 8.19% for the period as a whole.

 

Since the U.S. and China met during the G20 meeting at the beginning of December, China has implemented multiple policies addressing major issues in trade war negotiations. China agreed to cut tariffs on more than 700 goods in sectors such as agriculture, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and materials. Despite the progress, most products will still be subject to the retaliatory tariffs until there is a breakthrough in the trade deal. Furthermore, China has drafted a law to prevent forced technology transfers, which is a main complaint by Washington. However, critics question whether the new law will be enforced successfully. U.S. trade representatives will travel to China in January for another round of negotiations and any update from their talk will likely affect markets early in the New Year.

 

Despite the ongoing risk market selloff in during the fourth quarter, the Fed still decided to raise the Fed Fund rate for the fourth time in 2018, to a range between 2.25% and 2.5%. However, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) did adjust next year’s projected base rate move downward to just two hikes, in the face of market volatility. However, Fed Chairman, Jerome Powell reiterated the plan for balance sheet runoff. As the Fed downplayed risks to the economic outlook, investors worry that a hawkish central bank will ultimately slow the economy and send markets into another tail spin. As interest rates continues to climb, consumers will feel even more pressure on mortgages and auto loan payments. Overall, businesses have begun to experience a higher interest burden.

 

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Repost: The Most-Bought Tech Stocks Of Investment Gurus

Technology stocks are extremely attractive for many investors, nowadays. Recently, Some of the world’s largest tech giants are listed on Forbes as the most-bought stocks in the tech sector:

Fund managers in the third quarter continued buying tech stocks, a sector that outperformed all others over the past five years.

The S&P 500 Technology SPDR returned 89.84% over the past half decade, more than double the rise in the S&P 500 index. Companies in the sector glided on innovations in the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, artificial intelligence and consumer electronics.

Facebook was the third most-bought stock of investment gurus during the third quarter. The tech sector was the best performing over the past five years. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg© 2018 Bloomberg Finance LP

 

Their ability to generate a profit spurred investor interest. The sector’s net profit margins expanded to 22.1% in the third quarter, their highest since FactSet began tracking data in 2008. It also saw all of its constituents report earnings above estimates.

Nevertheless, some wind left the sector’s sails in this year. It has achieved only a 2.53% gain year to date, making it the fourth-best performer in the S&P 500, though it beat the index’s decline of 1.38%.

Meanwhile, its valuations have fallen, potentially making it more attractive to some investors. GuruFocus calculates its price-earnings ratio at 27.1, significantly below its peak of 39.4 from June and its lowest since March. It has the fourth-highest price-earnings ratio of the 11 sectors in the index.

Analysts have attributed the sector’s drop to lower demand, trade uncertainty with China and overvaluation. Earnings growth is expected to reach 9.8% for 2019, according to FactSet, which in September revised its estimate up from 6.9% in June. Bloomberg data forecasts earnings growth for the sector at 9.7% for 2019 and 10% for 2020.

In the third quarter, the most investors GuruFocus tracks bought shares of the following tech companies: Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Electronic Arts and Alphabet. This data was found using GuruFocus S&P 500 Screener.

 

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