First…Happy New Year!

Everyone else has been telling you what happened in 2017. We’d like you to focus for a couple minutes on what did NOT happen in 2017. Here we have a sampling of claims that appeared in various places across the vast media landscape. All were proven greatly exaggerated or outright false. For a link to the original source, just mouse over any of the claims and the url link will show up in highlight. Click it to go to the story.  (Article used with permission of Ken Fisher Investments.)

2017 was the year that:

President Trump didn’t torpedo the US economy, trade, bull market or democracy.

Protectionism didn’t strangle the global expansion or snowball into a trade war.

Euroskeptic populists didn’t take over Europe.

Brexit talks and high inflation didn’t tank the UK economy.

The British pound didn’t keep plunging.

China didn’t crash.

High valuations didn’t bring stocks down.

The ECB tapered quantitative easing (QE) … and nothing happened.

The BoJ stealth-tapered QE … and nothing happened.

The Fed started shrinking its balance sheet … and nothing happened.

The Fed hiked rates three times … and nothing happened.

Big(ish) banks failed in Spain and Italy … and nothing happened.

Long-term interest rates didn’t soar.

North Korea didn’t nuke anyone.

All of these are things folks thought would roil stocks at some point this year. But none did. Either the thing everyone feared didn’t happen, or it did—and markets didn’t care.

North Korea fired missiles over Japan, tested intercontinental weapons and (quite likely) detonated an H-bomb underground, but nuclear war didn’t break out, and South Korean stocks were among the world’s best performing. The ECB and BoJ’s small QE tapers didn’t kill off economic growth. UK economic growth slowed early in the year, before inflation really got cooking, and accelerated in the autumn as the annual inflation rate hurtled toward 3%. Eurozone Financials outperformed the MSCI World Index despite the failures of major banks in Italy and Spain.[i]

Markets are efficient. They (usually) are priced according to widely known information long before most humans are able to think through everything and develop a rational view of the future. When stocks rise despite widely held fears, it doesn’t mean markets are wrong. Rather, we think it is a strong indication the market has weighed all possible outcomes and decided the likeliest result is things going better than most fear. This is why stocks have a long, long history of rising through conflict, natural disasters, terrorist strikes and other frightening or dreary developments.

Keep this in mind for 2018. Most outlets are already trotting out the obligatory list of things that could cause a big downturn this year. Among the highlights: Fed tighteningrising inflationbitcoin crashingUS midterm electionsNorth Korea (again)high valuations (again)protectionism (again) and a strong dollar whacking Emerging Markets. None of these fears are new. We have already seen stocks overcome them—some more than once during this bull market. They don’t appear any likelier to cause actual problems this time around. None have surprise power, scope or inherent negative impact. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

False fears are good for one thing: They are bullish. Specifically, they show markets aren’t done climbing up the proverbial “wall of worry” that looms in every bull. As long as worries remain, it shows some skepticism lingers in the marketplace, preventing investors from becoming euphoric. Usually, at a peak, folks are out of things to worry about—everything is beautiful and nothing can end the party. That mindset isn’t here yet, which is one reason we think this bull market has room to run.

Market Minute 1/5/2018 –  New Year’s Resolutions

We get questions about this time every year from clients asking what might make a good financial resolution for the upcoming year.  So… Here are a couple to think about.  Perhaps they will get your thoughts moving in a positive direction.

  1. If you are still working: Try to save 20-25% of your gross income each year. Yes, it sounds like a big number, and it is! However, unless you’re starting at a very young age, or planning to work well past your ‘full retirement age’, the old suggestions of 10-15% will not cut it. Go ahead- reach for it.
  2. If you are retired: Odds are pretty good you’ve thought about working on your estate plan. That can mean anything from checking beneficiaries on your investment holdings and insurance plans, to working with a qualified estate-planning attorney to update (or start) wills and trusts. As Tony says ‘the best time to plant a tree was ten years ago, and the next best time is today.’ Same goes for estate plans.
  3. No matter what time of year it is, knowing your net worth is imperative to working with your future financial plans. If you do not know your net worth get started now calculating the value of your assets and liabilities

And needless to say, any of these can be the basis for an interesting discussion with your qualified financial professional. So, there’s no time like the present. 

Happy New Year!  We look forward to continuing to serve you and your families in 2018.

Ronald P. Denk, CFP®
Investment Advisor
Denk Strategic Wealth Partners
10000 N. 31st Avenue, Suite C-262
Phoenix, AZ 85051

Phone (602) 252-8700
Fax (602) 252-8701
Toll-Free (877) The-Denk

This weekly article reflects news, commentary, opinions, viewpoints, analyses and other information developed by Denk Strategic Wealth Partners and/or select but unaffiliated third parties. DSWP provides Market Information for illustrative and informational purposes only. If you wish to receive this weekly commentary by email please contact us at 602-252-8700 or by e-mail at lindaw(at) If you are receiving this commentary via email and would prefer not to please let us know either by email or phone.

Ronald Denk is an Advisory Representative offering services through Denk Strategic Wealth Partners, A Registered Investment Advisor. He is also a Registered Representative, offering investments through Lincoln Financial Securities Corporation, Member FINRA/SIPC.

Denk Strategic Wealth Partners is not affiliated with Lincoln Financial Securities Corporation. Information in this commentary is the sole opinion of Denk Strategic Wealth Partners. Past performance is no guarantee of future returns. All market related investments involve various types of risk, which include but are not restricted to, credit risk, interest rate risk, volatility, going concern risk, and market risk.

The Update provides information of a general nature regarding legislative or other developments. None of the information contained herein is intended as legal advice or opinions relative to specific matters, facts, situations or issues. Additional facts, information or future developments may affect the subjects addressed in this document. You should consult with an attorney, accountant or DSWP planner about your particular circumstances before acting on any of this information because it may not be applicable to your situation.

Lincoln Financial Securities and Denk Strategic Wealth Partners and their representatives do not offer tax advice. Please see your tax professional regarding your individual needs.

*The indices are representative of domestic markets and include the average performance of groups of widely held common stocks. Individuals cannot invest directly in any index and unlike investments, indices do not incur management fees, charges, or expenses, therefore specific index returns will be higher. Past performance is not indicative of future results.