Consider the following observations about China from John Lee, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and the U.S. Studies Centre in Sydney. (WSJ 12/15/19) • In every negotiation, pressure is relative, and the U.S. has more political and economic leverage than China.
Stock prices closed out the year with a surge, leaving investors with exceptionally high returns for the calendar year. Global stock indexes advanced over 3% in December and nearly 9% for the quarter … a welcome rebound for investors who suffered through last year’s decline. U.S. and international stocks ended the calendar year with returns of 31.01% and 21.51%, respectively. Declining yields also gave bond investors solid returns during 2019.
U.S. stocks advanced nearly 4% during November, and they head into the final month of 2019 with year-to-date returns in excess of 27 percent. Foreign stocks returned just shy of 1% for the month and have advanced more than 16% over the past 11 months.
The Harvard Study of Adult Development, started in 1938 and still in progress today, has only one focus: What keeps us happiest as we go through life? The study reached this singular conclusion: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier..
Global stock markets not only survived the dreaded month of October but delivered solid gains for investors. The month got off to a rough start over concerns about U.S/China trade, Brexit, impeachment, the Middle East, and protests in Hong Kong. But markets rebounded, as corporate earnings beat expectations and the Federal Reserve cut interest rates for a third time this year.
Global stock markets advanced roughly 2% in September, but essentially ended a volatile third quarter at or around where they started. Domestic stocks gained 1.2% for the quarter, while foreign stocks saw a 1.8% decline. With 20% returns year-to-date, U.S. stocks have delivered their best gains in more than two decades. Foreign stocks have advanced over 11% for the year, even against the headwinds of a strengthening dollar.
Global stock markets were virtually unchanged during July, as U.S. stock returns of just over 1% were offset by small losses on foreign equities. On the last day of the month, the Fed cut interest rates by a quarter-percentage point. The enthusiasm surrounding the Federal Reserve’s first rate cut in a decade was somewhat diminished when Chairman Powell suggested the cut was not necessarily the beginning of a long easing cycle.
Global stock markets were virtually unchanged during July, as U.S. stock returns of just over 1% were offset by small losses on foreign equities. On the last day of the month, the Fed cut interest rates by a quarter-percentage point. The enthusiasm surrounding the Federal Reserve's first rate cut in a decade was somewhat diminished when Chairman Powell suggested the cut was not necessarily the beginning of a long easing cycle.
Total U.S. government debt is now more than $22 trillion, and state and local debt is estimated at another $3 trillion. (Note that these figures do not include unfunded liabilities and corporate debt.) Annual deficits are running in excess of $1 trillion annually … and could easily rise to $2 trillion during the next recession. At that pace, total debt should reach $50 trillion by the end of the next decade.
With global central banks signaling their support, stock markets surged in June and ended the second quarter with solid gains. Large U.S. stocks have returned over 18% so far this year, marking their best first half performance in over 20 years. Global stock markets have recovered nicely after fourth quarter declines.