Last year, at this time, post election market gains were attributed to the prospects of a Republican controlled federal government busting through years of gridlock to reduce regulations, cut taxes, and maybe even launch some infrastructure projects (if walls count). The rally has seemingly continued non-stop, and Q4 of 2017 was no exception, even though the GOP couldn't seem to get much done until finally passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in late December. Equity markets rallied in anticipation of the tax cuts, and have continued to melt up as low interest rates, low unemployment, low inflation, and now lower taxes have created a "just right" market environment.
At the beginning of 2017, few money managers and analysts were forecasting that the financial markets would exceed, or even repeat, their strong returns from 2016. The reasons for pessimism included headwinds from global monetary tightening, political turmoil in the US, implementation of Brexit, conflicts in the Middle East, North Korea’s nuclear missile development and saber rattling, and other factors. Global markets, however, largely proved the experts wrong (yet again), with major equity indices in the US, developed ex-US, and emerging markets posting strong returns for the year.
Fall is here, and while the leaves will be changing soon, the US stock market has seemingly been evergreen, posting its eighth consecutive quarter of positive returns.