What a difference a year makes. As you will recall, 2017 began with a short - but very scary - market downturn. This year, however, began with the best first week for the stock market in more than a decade.
We continue to be in the second longest bull market in history (as defined by the time since we have had a 20% correction in the S&P 500). And while many market watchers are predicting single rather than double digit gains this year, there is a growing momentum behind this market - namely the expected positive bump to the earnings of many companies from the tax reform legislation passed late last year.
In this type of environment, it is hard to fight momentum. As always, most of us in the business caution advisors and clients not to make short-term changes to their portfolios to either accommodate this market - or run away from it.
But - it is equally important to remain vigilant in keeping enthusiasm in check. A healthy bull market correction is not a bad thing; but since it has been so long since this has actually happened, clients might be prone to overreact once it does occur.
This market has been able to overcome growing geo-political conflict between the U.S. and North Korea, and rising tensions in the Middle East. It has also been able to ignore the Mueller investigation and the possibility that President Trump, or someone close to him may face indictment.
It has even been able to withstand the growing (in my opinion) bubble of cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin. But, recent talk of creating highly leveraged ETFs - yes, new synthetic investments - sent shivers down my spine. Many of those applications were quickly withdrawn, which is good, but also bodes for new regulations on the horizon, which would temper growth expectations for this industry.
Bottom line - there are enough potential external forces that could send this already getting-old-in-the-tooth market down. So, I encourage you to preach long-term asset allocation and patience to your clients. Better to be ahead of whatever is to come than behind it.