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Opening Bell 1.2.19

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It could be worse ... [The Water Coolest]

... you could be major US stock indices. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed out the year of our Lord 2018 down 5.6%, 6.2%, and 3.9%, respectively. The end to the historic bull market marked the worst year for equities since 2008. Put simply, if years were banks, 2018 would be Deutsche Bank.

If the markets final week of the year (the worst Christmas Eve ever was followed-up by the largest one-day point-gain ever) was any indication, 2018 can best be described with one (hyphenated) word: bat-sh*t. Don't believe me? The Cboe Volatility Index saw its sharpest annual increase of all time.

But why?

It's hard to put one's finger on exactly WTF happened, but that doesn't mean we can't try: the ongoing trade war with China, the Fed raising rates, a partial US government shutdown, government and geopolitical instability, and countless economic indicators pointing towards a downturn have played a role in the market's terrible, no good, very bad year.

Honorable mention

Wells Fargo, Carlos Ghosn, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerburg, and James Cordier probably couldn't wait to put 2018 behind them. But few had the year David Einhorn did. The prominent value investor's hedge fund, Greenlight Capital, ended the year down 34% ... as in losing more than 1/3 of investor's money.

You know you're having a bad year when your short position on a company who consistently misses output estimates and whose leader is a man-child with an itchy Twitter finger and a hankering for narcotics doesn't pan out.

U.S. Indexes Close With Worst Yearly Losses Since 2008 [WSJ]

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Opening Bell 11.14.18

Brexit on; Crude off; Ackman active; and more!