2019 Outlook and Predictions

Each year our Friend  Bob Doll, who is Chief Equity Strategist & Senior Portfolio Manager at Nuveen asset management, gives his view on the new year.  His insights are very thoughtful and give us some insight to the year ahead.  Below are Bob’s comments for 2019 and how he believes the year will unfold in the Economy, markets and some insight to geopolitical events that could affect your portfolios.

2019: Choppy and frustrating, but no recession

First a look back at a disappointing 2018

2018 proved to be a “Tale of Two Cities” year, as investors were confronted with a range of contradictions: Unemployment ended the year at nearly a 50-year low and wages have been rising, yet fears of a recession have increased. And corporate earnings were amazingly strong while stock prices sank sharply into correction territory by the end of the year. Investors are now left to question whether solid fundamentals or growing uncertainty will shape the markets.

Ironically, 2018 was relatively calm until the fourth quarter. Outside of a brief correction in January and February driven by fears of rising interest rates, investors focused on an accelerating economy and strong earnings growth. Stock prices rose to record levels by the end of the summer.

U.S. economic growth was quite strong in 2018, helped in no small part by the 2017 tax cuts. At the beginning of the year, we believed real U.S. gross domestic product growth would reach 3%.This level was much higher than consensus estimates, but it did come to pass. We also expected corporate earnings growth to rise, but were surprised by the incredible S&P 500 earnings per share growth of 22.6% year over year.1

What happened over the last three months? Stocks may have reached overbought levels by the end of the summer, so it wasn’t shocking to see a selloff. But the magnitude of the decline has been surprising. We see two primary drivers of the current selloff. First is a genuine fundamental issue of higher interest rates and inflation. Neither has been moving strikingly higher, but they have advanced over the last 12 months, compressing equity valuations. Second, consider a large list of worries: concerns over slowing economic and earnings growth and trade issues are the most prominent, but investors are also worried about Brexit, the Italian budget stalemate, falling oil prices, political dysfunction and uncertain Federal Reserve policy. With this somewhat confusing backdrop, Bob offers his 10 Predictions for 2019.

2019 Ten Predictions

  1. The U.S. expansion becomes the longest in history despite GDP slowing to a still-above-trend increase of 2% to 2.5%.
  2. Unemployment bottoms in 2019 while wage growth continues to rise.
  3. The Treasury yield curve flattens and credit spreads widen due to late cycle concerns.
  4. Corporate earnings growth estimates weaken for 2019 and 2020 as both revenue and profit pressures rise.
  5. U.S. equities experience a positive return, but fail to reach record highs for the first time in 10 years.
  6. Non-U.S. stocks outperform U.S. stocks as the dollar sags.
  7. The information technology, financial and healthcare sectors outperform utilities, REITs and materials.
  8. The annual federal budget deficit approaches $1 trillion, a level unprecedented absent a recession.
  9. U.S. and global politics spark more market volatility as the cold wars within the U.S. and with China persist.
  10. A double-digit number of Democrats run for president while President Trump is challenged within his own party.

2019 Outlook

We have many questions, but we think it is fairly certain that the U.S. will not fall into recession in 2019. We don’t see any signals that make a reasonable case for recession. The consumer sector looks strong, particularly the labor market. The corporate sector is solid, although corporate management teams have scaled back some plans due to trade concerns. And the government sector appears to be expanding, as spending is likely to rise. We expect growth will slow next year compared to 2018, but to a still-above-trend 2%+ level.

A confusing and conflicted outlook


The Bullish View

Solid Earnings Growth

Growth is slowing, not collapsing

Fed is becoming more dovish

Trade issues could improve

Correction has been broad based

Sentiment is very negative

Valuations have improved


The Bearish View

Earnings uncertainty is high

Fed Policy is too tight

Tariffs will slow growth

Global growth is unbalanced

Financial Market Volatility could rise

Political uncertainty is pervasive

The end of the cycle is inevitable


However, we can easily make a bullish or bearish case for stocks. We could argue that recession fears will likely fade as data continues to be positive. Should that happen, stock prices could again rally on decent fundamentals, especially since valuations are more attractive now than they were a few months ago. Conversely, even if the economy continues to grow, investors will become increasingly concerned about slowing earnings growth. They will continue looking for reasons to sell, which could produce a trendless or even falling market into 2019.

But, at the end of the day, as professional investors we are obligated to make a call and lean toward a constructive view on equities. As the title of our predictions suggests, we think markets will remain choppy and frustrating and stocks will bounce around with extended runs and declines. Ultimately, we think the bullish factors will generally overpower the bearish ones.

We expect 2019 market performance will be stronger than 2018.We think a reasonable year-end target range for the S&P 500 Index would be around 2,650, meaning a decent gain for stocks. To get there, recession fears cannot be realized.

As volatility remains elevated, we think 2019 will be a difficult environment for investors. Remaining selective and tactical would seem to be the order of the day. Long term investors may want to add to positions during periods of weakness and trim holdings during periods of strength.

Additionally, we point to several themes that we think may win out over the course of 2019. Specifically, we think focusing on factors such as high free cash flow, inexpensive valuations, the ability to grow top-line earnings and an eventual tilt toward non-U.S. sources of revenue would benefit 

Fortem Financial


Fortem Financial Group, LLC, has adopted this policy with recognition that protecting the privacy and security of the non-public personal information we obtain about our customers is an important responsibility.

All financial companies choose how they share your non-public personal information. Federal law gives consumers the right to limit some but not all sharing. Federal law also requires us to tell you how we collect, share, and protect your non-public personal information. Even when you are no longer our customer, we will only share your non-public personal information as described in this notice. So, please read this notice carefully to understand what we do.

The types of non-public personal information we collect and share depend on the product or service you have with us. This information can include items such as your Social Security number and income, your account balances and transaction history, and your investment experience and account transactions.

We collect your non-public personal information in a variety of ways. For example, we obtain your non-public personal information when you open an account or give us your income information, tell us about your portfolio or deposit money, or enter into an investment advisory contract. We also collect your non-public personal information from other companies. For example, from the custodians who hold your account assets.

All financial companies need to share customer’s non-public personal information to run their everyday business. Below, we describe the reasons we can share your non-public personal information and whether you can limit this sharing.

We share your non-public personal information for our everyday business purposes such as to process your transactions, maintain your account(s), respond to court orders and legal investigations, report to credit bureaus, to protect the confidentiality or security of your records, or as permitted by law. We may also share your non-public personal information for our own firm’s marketing purposes; so that we can offer our products and services to you.

Federal law gives you the right to limit only sharing non-public personal information about your credit worthiness for our affiliates’ everyday business purposes; sharing non-public personal information about you with our affiliates to market to you; and sharing non-public personal information with non-affiliates to market to you.

We don’t share non-public personal information about your creditworthiness with our affiliates for their everyday business purposes. We don’t share your non-public personal information with our affiliates to market to you. We don’t share your non-public personal information with non-affiliates to market to you. We also don’t share your non-public personal information for joint marketing with other financial companies. State laws and individual companies may give you additional rights to limit sharing.

We share non-public personal information with our parent company affiliate, Focus Financial Partners, Inc, for its internal and external auditing purposes. We also share your non-public personal information with a non-affiliate for the purpose of aggregating it and providing summary information based on this data to our parent company, Focus Financial Partners, Inc.

To protect your non-public personal information from unauthorized access and use, we use security measures that comply with federal law. These measures include computer safeguards and secured files and buildings.

Our policy about obtaining and disclosing non-public personal information may change from time to time. We will provide you notice of any material change to this policy before we implement the change.

If you have questions please call us at 760-206-8500 or go to our website at www.fortemfin.com.


Fortem Financial Group, LLC ("Fortem Financial" or the "Firm") is a federally registered investment adviser with offices in California. Fortem Financial and its representatives are in compliance with the current registration and notice filing requirements imposed upon federally registered investment advisers by those states in which Fortem Financial maintains clients. Fortem Financial may only transact business in those states in which it is notice filed, or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from notice filing requirements.

This website is limited to the dissemination of general information regarding the Firm's investment advisory services offered to U.S. residents residing in states where providing such information is not prohibited by applicable law. Accordingly, the publication of Fortem Financial' website on the Internet should not be construed by any consumer and/or prospective client as a solicitation to effect, or attempt to effect transactions in securities, or the rendering of personalized investment, tax or legal advice. Furthermore, the information resulting from the use of any tools or other information on this website should not be construed, in any manner whatsoever, as the receipt of, or a substitute for, personalized individual advice from Fortem Financial. Any subsequent direct communication from Fortem Financial with a prospective client will be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides. Fortem Financial does not make any representations as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to this website or incorporated herein, and takes no responsibility therefore. All such information is provided for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly.

All statements and opinions included on this website are subject to change as economic and market conditions dictate, and do not necessarily represent the views of Fortem Financial or any of their respective affiliates. Past performance may not be indicative of future results and there can be no assurance that any views, outlooks, projections or forward-looking statements will come to pass. Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal, and the profitability of any particular investment strategy or product cannot be guaranteed.

Any rating referenced herein may not be representative of any one client's experience. Further, the Firm's receipt of any rating is not indicative of the Firm's future performance. The Charles E. Merrill Circle of Excellence award is granted by Merrill Lynch for outstanding client service and satisfaction. The award is granted based on annual criteria established by Merrill Lynch for its top decile advisors. The Barron's Top 1,200 Financial Advisors rating of the top financial advisors in the United States is based on data provided by participating firms. The following factors are included in the rankings: assets under management, revenue produced for the firm, regulatory record, quality of practice and philanthropic work. Investment performance is not an explicit component. The Five Star Professional award is granted by Five Star Professional and recognizes service professionals who provide quality services to their clients based on data provided by participating firms. The award is granted based on the following ten objective eligibility and evaluation criteria: credentialed as an investment advisory representative (IAR) or a registered investment advisor; actively employed as a credentialed professional in the financial services industry for a minimum of five years; favorable regulatory and complaint history review; fulfilled their firm review based on internal firm standards; accepting new clients; one-year client retention rate; five-year client retention rate; non-institutionalized discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered; number of client households served; and educational and professional designations. Feedback from consumer surveys will augment a regulatory history review. Firms have the option to provide input on award candidates from their firm, regardless of the nomination source. The Palm Springs Life's "40 Under 40" Rising Young Professionals to Watch in the Coachella Valley is based upon nominations from the local business community and selected by the staff of Palm Springs Life.

For information pertaining to the registration status of Fortem Financial, please refer to the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website, operated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, at www.adviserinfo.sec.gov., which contains the most recent versions of the Firm's Form ADV disclosure documents.