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Investing: How the World’s Biggest Money Manager Is Preparing for 2018

December 7, 2017, 11:30 AM UTC

BlackRock, which manages some $6 trillion worldwide, gave Fortune an exclusive preview of its outlook.

To most Main Street investors, BlackRock (BLK) is basically invisible. Then again, so are Wi-Fi and oxygen. The New York–based financial giant is deeply woven into the fabric of global investing: It’s the world’s biggest asset manager, overseeing about $6 trillion in client money as of the end of November. That’s a sum bigger than the GDP of every country on earth except the U.S. and China, and it means BlackRock’s investment decisions create ripples that roll through every major global market.

BlackRock’s best-known products don’t involve much decision-making: It’s also the biggest provider of passive exchange-traded funds, with $1.5 trillion invested in its iShares fund family. Still, BlackRock’s institutional stock and bond holdings, most of which are actively managed, are considerably larger than its ETF portfolio, and the choices the company’s 135 investment teams make about where to deploy that money affect and influence countless other investors.

To give Fortune readers a preview of what the firm expects from global markets in 2018, BlackRock’s senior strategists shared their outlook with us in advance of its mid-­December publication. Highlights follow from our conversations with the team. (Click here to read the full BlackRock 2018 outlook.)

A version of this article appears in the Dec. 15, 2017 issue of Fortune with the headline “The Planet’s Biggest Investor Prepares for 2018.”