With The S&P 500 Up 7.2% In 3Q18, What's Driving Stocks?

As the third quarter of 2018 closed, the Standard Poor's 500 stock index — a barometer of the U.S. economy — closed the quarter at 2913.98 on Friday, as the unusually strong and long economic expansion powered stock prices to within 1% of its recently reached record high.

Amid abnormal political polarization in the U.S., a crisis of trust in internet security, and nationalism rising worldwide while globalism was under attack, the bull market and economic boom recently turned nine years-old — the longest in U.S. history — raising worries about risk. What's driving stocks?

Earnings estimates by Wall Street analysts for the S&P 500 for each calendar fiscal year since 2011 started overly optimistic and then were shaved as the end of the years approached. That's the typical pattern. From 2012 through 2017, six consecutive years, earnings expectations were lowered substantially compared to when the year started.

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This article was written by a veteran financial journalist based on data compiled and analyzed by independent economist, Fritz Meyer. While these are sources we believe to be reliable, the information is not intended to be used as financial advice without consulting a professional about your personal situation.

Indices are unmanaged and not available for direct investment. Investments with higher return potential carry greater risk for loss. Past performance is not an indicator of your future results.

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