The S&P 500 is up 21% since Election Day. Time
I expect a moderately volatile year for stock prices in 2018 because of increasingly leveraged financial instruments and products and because U.S. stock market valuations are at historical all-time highs based on price to earnings ratios.
I project that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates multiple times in 2018. These will not be large interest rate raises, but the rate hikes are coming off of historically low levels.
My prediction is the daily high of the Dow stock index during 2018 will reach 27,220.
Last year I predicted a high of 21,400 for 2017 and the Dow reached a daily closing high of 24,782 as of the date this was written.
I currently believe there is a 50 percent chance plus the Dow will decline more than 2,000 points during some point in 2018.
My recommendation is to buy investments in high credit quality stocks, mainly paying dividends, and bonds, which has always been my policy for portfolios.
If you’re focused on the long term for retirement, you should invest, not speculate.
Following are the investment guidelines I generally recommend: a growth portfolio of 80 percent stocks and 20 percent bonds for people in their 40s and younger; a moderate growth portfolio of 60 percent stocks and 40 percent bonds for people in their 50s; a conservative growth portfolio of 40 percent stocks and 60 percent bonds for people in their 60s to first half of 70s; and an income portfolio of 20 percent stock and 80 percent bonds for people 75 and older.
Most retirement plans offer a menu of specific investment instruments from which to choose. For individual investors making their own choices within their retirement plans like 401Ks, I recommend choosing traditional mutual funds for the investment instruments.
Nobody in history has been able to successfully all of the time the stock market.
In a bull stock market, about 70 percent of all stocks go up, and in a bear stock market, about 90 percent of all stocks go down.
There is always a place in portfolios for stocks and bonds because of the need for diversification.
As a policy, I choose and recommend investments in individual stocks in a diversified portfolio, which stops the additional fees and costs in all mutual funds, Exchange Traded Funds, computerized trading, derivatives, hedge funds and alternative investments.
This is especially important in non-retirement accounts for tax purposes.
Mutual funds are required by law to pay out capital gains that are taxed unless it’s a retirement plan. Owning individual stocks and bonds gives investors the power to control their taxes in non-retirement accounts.
My opinion is stocks will outperform bonds in the long term with long term meaning minimum of 10-year investment periods.
It’s important to fully understand financial instruments and products you’re considering or using. Knowledge is power.
Remember the generations old Wall Street adage: “Bulls make money. Bears make money. Hogs get slaughtered.”
Stephen M. Mintz operates the fee-only (no product-related sales or commissions) investment management firm in Premier Plaza, Monroe with fiduciary duty. He earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in finance at LSU. Contact him at 325-5090 or fee-only@ stevemintz.com.
He is closing his firm on March 30, 2018. His firm is merging with Argent Financial, Dean Mailhes, Monroe.
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