2016 Outlook: Embrace the Routine

When you think of a routine, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Some may think, it’s the mundane, the small steps and processes you follow to accomplish all your tasks for the day. But routine is more than that. It’s about forming good habits, feeling prepared. And perhaps the best part of a routine is the comfort that comes from knowing what to expect. For investors, the definition of a good routine would be knowing what to expect from the markets.

Is there such thing as a routine year for markets? Over the last 50 years, the S&P 500 Index grew at an average of about 10% a year, but its return was between 0% and 20% in any single year less than half the time. We haven’t witnessed a price return of 6 – 11%, a range that might be considered typical for markets, since 1992, over 20 years. And even when there was a year in the routine 10 – 20% range, there were other things going on in the markets that made the year feel anything but routine. Yields may have been extraordinarily low, or extraordinarily high. Commodities were booming, or collapsing. There really is no such thing as a routine year for markets. However, your financial advisor and LPL Research’s Outlook 2016 can help you prepare for what we may see in the year ahead.

Economy

U.S. economic growth of 2.5 – 3%. However, the mix of that growth may look different than in 2015, with manufacturing, business capital spending, and net exports taking larger roles. Labor markets are almost back to long-term expectations, and inflation may be poised to accelerate. An extraordinary extended period of loose monetary policy in the United States should start to normalize.

Stocks

Mid-single-digit returns for the S&P 500. Stocks, we believe, will not collapse, as many think, or soar, as many hope, but may offer near historical routine returns. Earnings may start to normalize, and oil markets should find their equilibrium. International markets may re-emerge as a more viable investing opportunity. But we are still in the second half of the economic cycle, and investors need to be vigilant about monitoring pockets of volatility and potential signs of an economic downturn.

Bonds

Limited returns for bonds. The year as a whole may look similar to 2015, with bond prices facing the challenges of high valuations, steady economic growth, and the prospect of interest rate hikes. But bonds still play a vital role in investors’ portfolios, to help with risk mitigation and diversification.

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Click here to read the full publication by LPL Financial Research: 2015 Mid-Year Outlook - Some Assembly Required.
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Important Disclosures

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. To determine which investments may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indexes are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted, and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful. Investing in stock includes numerous specific risks including: the fluctuation of dividend, loss of principal, and potential liquidity of the investment in a falling market.

Bonds are subject to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values and yields will decline as interest rates rise and bonds are subject to availability and change in price.

For a full list of important disclosures please view the full document provided in this blog post.