THE LEX COLUMN: US stocks face bumpy ride in 2019
Higher interest rates and fears of slower global trade lead analysts to take a more bearish stance
Evidence is growing that the party in US stocks is over. As a strong fourth-quarter reporting season for S&P 500 draws to a close, investors have little to look forward to in 2019. Wall Street expects earnings growth during the first quarter to turn negative for the first time in almost three years. There is evidence that the downward momentum will continue throughout the year. Tax cuts that came into effect at the start of 2018 gave US companies a one-off boost to earnings. As the benefit of these cuts disappear, a number of negative factors will begin to dominate. As profit margins come under pressure, investors should expect increased volatility in the US market and more profit warnings. Analysts forecast a run of poor quarters for earnings growth up until the fourth quarter of 2019. A turnaround is then expected, but even this hope looks to be a faint one. Higher US interest rates and fears about slowing global trade are two factors leading analysts to take a more bearish stance...