Understanding the Recent Market Sell-off

Not widely welcomed, but arguably overdue?

The sharp sell-off in stocks that started last week and gathered steam this week lacked a specific trigger — unlike the last time US shares fell this much, which came in the wake of the US losing its AAA sovereign rating at S&P Global Ratings in 2011.

As with plane crashes, the experts are pointing to a confluence of factors, from concerns over the path of Federal Reserve interest-rate increases to a rapid unwinding of trades predicated on continued low volatility in markets.

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The Best and Worst Performing Assets of 2017

Of the regular 39 assets in our sample, a very impressive 38 finished with a positive total return in USD terms and 36 did so in local currency terms.

The S&P 500 (+21.8%) ended the year with a positive return in every month – the first time this has ever happened in the 90 years of monthly data.

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