It never ceases to amaze me how conditions can change almost instantaneously in the stock market. It was only a couple of months ago that the S&P 500 seemed invulnerable and on pace for a double-digit return year. However, as we approach the end of 2018, with countless investors praying for a Santa Claus rally, any gain would be appreciated.
For many, the holiday season is a special time to pause and reflect on things that are important. It is a time to celebrate, show gratitude, and practice generosity with family, friends, and co-workers. While joyful in most cases, it can also be a very busy time of year, as people travel, attend holiday parties and buy gifts online.
At the beginning of 2018, we initiated a new EVA series titled “Bubble 3.0” with excerpts from David Hay’s upcoming book tentatively titled “Bubble 3.0: How Central Banks Created the Next Financial Crisis”.
This week started on another low note, as US equities tumbled on weakness in energy and tech. On Tuesday, the S&P 500 temporarily slid 10% below its record September close, while the Nasdaq fell to nearly 14% below its August high. In an equity market that has skated by whimsically on the back of relaxed monetary policy and historically low interest rates for nearly 10 years, trouble has not oft been on the mind of the fully-invested, US-concentrated, passively-exposed, large-cap investor. It seems as if we might have reached a breaking point.
How soon we forget. George Santayana long ago wrote these immortal words: “Those who cannot learn from the past are doomed to repeat it”. However, a more recent thinker took his observation one step further by wryly observing (with a little paraphrasing by yours truly): “And the rest of us are doomed to suffer along with them”.