Wall Street Week Ahead: And you thought 2011 was tough?
By Edward Krudy | Reuters – 29 mins ago…
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Shaky Europe. Political gridlock. Volatile markets.
Familiar themes for those who lived through 2011, and investors should be ready to revisit them next year.
With a spiraling debt crisis in Europe, political upheaval around the world, and crumbling creditworthiness in major industrial nations, 2011 was a tough year to know where to invest. 2012 is unlikely to offer much respite.
The S&P 500, a measure of the biggest U.S. companies’ market value, spent much of the year getting pushed up and down, flummoxing shorts and longs – and scaring Moms and Pops away from stocks. In the end, it will finish about where it started.
“There is a growing realization that the global economy is in jeopardy,” said Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Robert W. Baird & Co in Nashville. “There is uncertainty in every corner of the world.”
That uncertainty fed substantial volatility in 2011. Despite the S&P’s flat performance this year, there were 66 trading days when stocks moved in a 2 percent range. In 2008, when Lehman Brothers collapsed during a global financial crisis, there were more than 130 trading days when stocks swung that much. But that led to a flight from equities by retail investors.
U.S. equity funds had outflows in every month since May. More than $483 billion left U.S. mutual funds in 2011 through the year’s second-to-last week, even though the U.S. market outperformed foreign stocks late in the game.