As went the first six months, so go the next?
The first half of 2018 was full of sound and fury for the U.S. stock market, but ultimately it signified little as a resurgence of volatility mostly failed to result in big moves for the major indexes.
The key question for the rest of the year, however, is whether the first half of the year’s major points of uncertainty become concrete changes to the macroeconomic environment in the second, and whether those changes will extend what’s already a historically long bull market, or bring it to a halt.
Bulls and bears alike had plenty of factors that they could marshal in their favor in the first six months of the year. Optimists could point to rapid growth in corporate earnings and a labor market that is at its strongest level in years, while pessimists cited signs that the once-synchronized growth of the global economy was cracking at a time when Federal Reserve policy was becoming less accommodative and the specter of a trade war remains ever-present.