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Fourth Quarter Summary
Looking back at 2018 stock market performance, Charles Dickens’ classic line, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” comes to mind. Stocks started with a bang in January with the S&P 500 rising 5.7%. The year ended with a thud, with the S&P 500 turning in its worst monthly return (-9.0%) since the midst of The Great Depression (1931). As the year came to a close the S&P 500 was down 4.4% on a total return basis, its first calendar year loss since 2008, and flirted with entering a formal bear market, usually defined as a drop of more than 20% from a prior peak.