When it comes to stock market forecasting, it’s trendy to be pessimistic. Because major equity benchmarks like the S&P 500 have always gone up over long periods of time, television audiences and newspaper readers won’t be impressed by portfolio managers professing the Dow will gain 8% to 10% in the year ahead.
On the other hand, a hedge-fund founder proclaiming cataclysm is around the corner may prove inaccurate, but in the financial industry, bulls usually earn the profits and bears usually earn the attention.
There are reasons to be concerned. Economic growth around the world is slowing and the U.S. economy is not immune to those forces. American manufacturing and export data released this month showed the weakest numbers since 2009. Surveys of consumer confidence