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Many Reasons for Gratitude in Early 2019

February 18, 2019

|Daniel A. White

There’s a lot of negativity out there. No matter what, the mainstream media seems to dump on President Trump, often characterizing the economy as under-performing or proclaiming recession is around the corner.

Well, there are quite a few good things going on right now.

A booming December 2018 employment report with 312,000 new jobs had to cheer up even the grumpiest pundits, if only for a second or two.

The stock market started well, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) off to one of its best starts in years. It turned the tide to overcome an end to 2018 that saw the market down 14 percent because of depressed oil prices, Federal Reserve policy and Chinese trade tensions

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Why?

Oil prices rebounded. OPEC’s production reductions are paying off as prices have risen in early 2019.

Additionally, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s use of “patient” when discussing interest rate hikes helped stocks jump for five trading days in a row. Perhaps the Fed and markets are developing some cohesion.

As far as trade with China goes, talks continue. That’s progress, and it seems an agreement could be struck soon since pressure is mounting on both sides.

Consequently, stocks jumped more than 10 percent in the 10 days following an unjolly Christmas Eve. In fact, in the 23 times the S&P 500 was up more than 1.1 percent in the first five trading days of a year since 1950, it achieved a gain for the year…until last year.

Well, 23 out of 24 isn’t bad.

Seriously though, there’s a lot of good stuff happening that we shouldn’t ignore. There’s reason to be optimistic, even if a recession may arrive down the road and the market is volatile. That could be the new normal.

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