With an unexpectedly stellar year for stock markets behind us, it’s hard not to entertain an underlying fear: When will the crash come?
Not in the next 12 months, according Wall Street’s 2018 stock market predictions. According to most major Wall Street firms, the U.S. equity market is in for yet another year of strength—albeit not one as meteoric as 2017.
“We think equities will continue to outperform in 2018,” said Kane Brenan of Goldman Sachs Asset Management in a video published by the company.
The U.S. equity market (as measured by the S&P 500 index) has surged 20% to 2,680 this year as the American economy continued its recovery and investors looked forward to corporate tax cuts promised by the Trump administration. Indeed, some 14 Wall Street banks expect the index to rise another 5% to 2,818 in the coming year courtesy of tax cuts and continued strength in the global economy.
J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s David Kelly warns that investors should expect greater volatility next year and slower growth in the later part of 2018 as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates. Higher interest rates makes it more expensive to borrow.
Separately, many asset managers meanwhile are looking outside the U.S. for investing opportunities. The world has lagged behind the U.S. in terms of economic recovery since the Great Recession of 2008-9.
“As we consider the investment options available in the coming year, economies outside the U.S. are far earlier in their respective business cycles, and still experiencing double-digit profit growth,” wrote J.P. Morgan’s David Lebovitz in December note. “Thus, with the first day of school just around the corner, investors would be wise to choose a curriculum that allows them to study abroad.”
For the first time in a decade, all 45 countries tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development are expected to show economic growth—a sign that a global recovery is underway. The International Monetary Fund also upped its outlook for 2018 world economic growth to 3.7% in October, a 0.1 percentage point increase.
“Within equities we think emerging markets are a particularly interesting place to look,” Brenan said, pointing also to Europe and Japan for developed market ideas.
The pivot toward global equities has been an ongoing trend, with international equity funds receiving $149 billion in net inflows during the first 11 months of 2017. That’s up from $16 billion a year earlier, according to Lindsay Bell, Investment Strategist at CFRA.
Investors should take predictions with a grain of salt. Last year, some 12 banks polled by Fortune said they expected the S&P 500 to end 2017 between 2,200 to 2,500. Today, it’s nearing 2,700. Some also expected greater volatility due to U.S. president Donald Trump’s actions, though markets have been surprisingly quiet this year.
Meanwhile, not everyone thinks the stock market will gain in 2018. Leuthold Group chief investment strategist Jim Paulsen told the Wall Street Journal that he expects a market correction of 10% to 15% next year, a result of already high valuations.