The first quarter of 2019 ended on Friday with a gain in the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index of 13%, the best quarterly performance since the third quarter of 2009.
Publicly traded shares of large American companies, in decades past, averaged about a 10% total return per year. So, a double-digit gain in a three-month period is extraordinary by historical standards.
The strong performance in stocks occurred despite a long list of worries, including:
- inversion of the yield curve, a bad sign that has preceded every recession in post-War U.S.
- a U.S. trade war with China, the world's second-largest economic power
- signs of a sharp slowdown across Europe and in China
- lower earnings growth forecasts by Wall Street analysts for S&P 500 companies for 2019
No one can predict the future of the stock market or any particular investment with certainty. Just a week ago, the S&P 500 fell by 1.9% in a single day! A key growth investment in a broadly diversified portfolio, the S&P 500 index suffered a 19.8% plunge from September 20th's all-time closing high to the Christmas Eve closing low of 2,351.10. Closing on Friday at 2834.40, the S&P 500 stood just shy of its all-time closing high of 2930.75 on September 20th, 2018.
This article was written by a veteran financial journalist based on data compiled and analyzed by independent economist, Fritz Meyer. While these are sources we believe to be reliable, the information is not intended to be used as financial or tax advice without consulting a professional about your personal situation. Tax laws are subject to change. Indices are unmanaged and not available for direct investment. Investments with higher return potential carry greater risk for loss. Past performance is not an indicator of your future results.