“It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid” sang British crooner Paul Young on Band Aid’s 80s yuletide classic. For Wall Street traders of a technical bent there is currently every reason for angst. Normally, December really is the most wonderful time for US equities. Since 1950, the S&P 500 has gone up three quarters of the time for an average gain of more than 1.5%. But by Monday’s close the stock barometer was sporting a loss for the month of 7.8%, in line for its worst December since the Great Depression. Fears that the trade war will exacerbate a global slowdown are weighing on sentiment. The boost from President Donald Trump’s tax reforms is fading. US corporate earnings are expected to have risen 24%. They are forecast to grow a third of that in 2019. Analysts are minded to nudge the figure lower still. Also, it is no coincidence that markets are sliding as central banks retreat from their ultra-loose policies. Bonds have become relatively more attractive. The US bank...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now