2019’s Potentially Market-Moving Motifs [Part II]

Last week’s missive featured the first of two installments detailing this year’s potentially market-moving issues and events. Providing analysis of ongoing domestic economic and political issues that could move the market winds (here). This week, we broaden our perspective. Moving overseas to consider the regions, issues and events that may influence investment markets before 2021.

While no such list can be exhaustive, we believe this two-part series effectively covers those topics meriting scrutiny. Nor should our list be compared with those contrived within most consumer periodicals. As ours emanate from the investor’s perspective. Not that of the average buff, political junkie or animal lover. We will not spend time on this year’s ballyhooed superhero flicks, favored dog breeds, nor top names for girls.

Last year, TIME magazine chose members of the media, or as they put it, “Guardians of the War on Truth,” as the most influential person(s) of 2018. Even as recent polls and surveys by Gallup, Pew and the Columbia School of Journalism reveal that public trust in the media continues to decline. Which is rather like Wall Street nominating itself as the year’s most influential person in 2009. Right after it helped usher in the Credit Crisis.

This is not that. We’ve no skin in the game. Nothing to win, lose or prove by the topics covered herein. Save for the lens through which we’ll view every changing dynamic in the year ahead. All in an effort to keep client capital ahead of the curve. And out of harm’s way.

So let us begin…

China
Even casual visitors to China cannot help but see a nation leaping into the future. Thousands of new buildings, roads and bridges. Dozens of new airports. Several maglev high-speed trains — all of it reflecting a coordinated, nationwide policy of strategic infrastructure investment.

The Communist Party governing structure means that political shifts occur at a glacial pace. But economically, strategic decision-making can be followed by quick execution. The 26.4-mile Qingdao Haiwan Bridge — the longest in the world — was built in just four years.

When I lived in Madrid, the same lifeless, 50-foot crane sat outside my front door for two years. But I digress.

President Xi has strengthened the national government by consolidating power, reducing corruption and investing strategically in education, infrastructure and relationships with developing countries.

Many analysts believe that China will surpass the U.S. as the world’s largest economy sometime around 2030. At the same time, India will surpass Japan and Germany to become the world’s third-largest economy.

However, China could undergo massive upheavals between now and then. Especially were the Middle Kingdom to fall into a state of low-economic growth. Preventing the Communist Party from taking care of the massive populations migrating from the country side into its urban core.

Amid recent GDP declines, expect China to pull out all the stops to get the economy back on track. Potentially including a big stimulus package. Concurrently, look for the Communist party to try to more urgently consolidate power. Possibly setting restrictions on dissidents and foreign influence.

Following the last three to five years of under-performance, how might the Shanghai index do?

Perhaps the best indicator is President Xi Jinping. Who recently declared that financial security is part of national security. Concurrently, the China Securities Journal proclaimed the stock market would become an important part of the country’s core competitiveness. Taken together, that’s important. Because that is precisely how Trump views the market. Prior, Xi was never a big believer in the link between the economy and the stock market. Now we have observed a major pivot. One that could spell good things for Chinese (and perhaps global) equities.

Tariffs and Trade Wars
Ongoing trade discussions between the U.S. and Chinese continue to receive positive progress reports from both sides. While markets anxiously await news signaling a positive outcome. The question becomes, will China grant temporary concessions that placate western trading partners for a while? Or will they make systemic changes to the way they conduct business. Opening their markets, allowing foreign companies to own 100 percent of their Chinese operations, and putting an end to their theft of foreign intellectual property. The repeated and unabashed practice of which has been egregious and damaging to the nations with whom China trades.

A 2017 report by the independent and bi-partisan U.S. Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property placed the annual cost of IP theft at $255 billion to $600 billion in counterfeit goods, pirated software and stolen trade secrets. Nor do these figures include the full cost of patent infringement. The commission named China “the world’s principle IP infringer.”

Despite lousy economic news emanating from China, stocks there have tried to rally. Up 14 percent year to date. And outperforming the S&P 500 index over the last three and six months.

A positive outcome from the ongoing trade talks would exert a powerful impact on the earnings potential of multinational companies operating in Asia. While delays would do the opposite: materially undercutting confidence. Still, we must consider the possibility that a real deal will finally get worked out. Which could unleash an orgy of risk-taking. As the removal of trade tariffs could put the entire global economy back on track.

China may play the long game, but it really needs to make a deal. The official growth rate expectation for the country this year is just under 6 percent. Though an economics professor in Beijing recently released a report suggesting growth could be as low as 1.67 percent.

Notably, world trade dropped at the end of last year. Revealing that higher tariffs are cooling global economic growth. With an especially adverse impact on China.

Meanwhile, the world is now paying significantly more attention to China’s vaunted “One Belt One Road.” Which was originally intended as a reformation of the historic Silk Road. The commerce line that put China at the center of global commerce as far back as 2,000 year ago. Today, however, it increasingly appears to be a scheme to lend a lot of money to neighbors for infrastructure projects that ultimately benefit China. In the lead up to Christmas, it was announced that Kenya may lose a number of strategic assets — including their main port in Mombasa — due to the overwhelming debt owed to the Chinese. Not a good image for a nation trying to present an economic counterbalance to long-time U.S. economic dominance.

Of course, China has long favored action over imagery.

Bottom line? China appears to be under-performing in many areas. And needs to get back on track. The knock-on effects of a Chinese decline to other parts of the world are well documented. In short, China needs to make a deal with the United States. And that could surprise many observers by being more comprehensive and positive for both sides than most currently expect. As global markets have yet to fully discount the benefits of a U.S.-Sino trade resolution. Which would prospectively provide a very bullish year-ahead scenario for risk assets worldwide.

Brexit
In June of 2016, 52 percent of the British population voted to leave the European Union. Leading up to the vote, the global media reported that the decision to leave, or “Brexit”, would be a disaster. Immediately unleashing a causal chain of crushing events that would shake the European and British economies. The following day, British stocks were in free fall. And would be for another week. Before pivoting and careening higher for the next 15 months.

Fast forward to today.

According to The Wall Street Journal, a month before the UK’s April 29th deadline to leave the EU, the anticipated exodus of financiers From London has not yet materialized. Contrary to the widely held expectation that London would lose tens or even hundreds of thousands of jobs, there are few signs of a wholesale shift away from the UK capital. Instead, financial firms are keeping a significant presence in London. Citing the city’s global standing and well-developed financial ecosystem.

In a widely cited 2016 report, consulting firm Oliver-Wyman estimated London would lose up to 75,000 jobs. Today, the firm says that it might take years before that number is reached. And if the UK retains a high level of access to EU markets, the job losses would be far fewer. Limited to around 4,000.

Should investors care about all this? Yes. Some 1.1 million Americans (and many other nationalities around the world) work for British firms. At $480 billion in total investment, Britain has more money invested in the U.S. than any other country — including China and Japan. The U.S. sells $123 billion in goods to the U.K. every year.

Britain’s financial well-being matters. As does that of the EU. But with the exception of free trade, some argue that the EU has been heading in the wrong direction for some time. Its member economies reflect that. Growing ever more slowly as populations age and economies become less dynamic.

For a while, some observers — especially those on the right — have argued that the EU had become a slow-motion disaster.

During the 20th Century’s latter half, Europhiles sought a means of competing with the U.S., China, Japan and a cadre of fast-growing emerging nations. Believing that a common currency and commerce union would create economies of scale that could propel the EU to a more formidable position. Believing there was more power in the sum of its parts than that enjoyed by Europe’s individual sovereign nations. To manage and propagate that ideal, the EU created a universe of rules, regulations and endlessly detailed directions for member nations on how to run their economies. Instructing them on everything from immigration and tax policy, to the size and shape of bananas allowed in EU markets. All of which amounted to a massive loss of sovereignty and economic self-rule for many of the 27 EU nations.

Britain may have arrived early at this epiphany. But it may not be the last. And as its electorate so chose, it will soon disengage from the growing internal EU strife. With the Brexit crowd arguing that the EU has become an unaccountable, hyper-regulated political bully run by even-less accountable bureaucrats in Brussels. Not too long ago, EU administrators predicted that the EU would “leapfrog” the U.S. in growth, jobs and economic leverage. That did not occur. As the European economy hit every snag, pothole and tree branch along the road.

In France, long a vocal EU proponent, the growing unpopularity of Emmanuel Macron has emanated from his lack of interest in challenging the euro zone’s monetary and budgetary policies. Which many economists agree have been a detriment to French growth. EU restrictions have curtailed France’s ability to borrow. As well as to make the necessary reforms to cut punishing payroll taxes.

The recent “yellow vest” demonstrations across France have captured the country’s attention because they consist overwhelmingly of those who never protest — middle and working-class people who work every day. Believe they are overtaxed. And see their social and economic horizons darkening. Much like many British voters might have felt in 2016.

Despite all the dire prognostications by various pundits and politicians, Britain may not have much to lose by leaving the EU. In fact, during the initial referendum to leave the EU, everyone predicted disaster were the Brexit vote to win. Much like 1999’s Y2K event. So many proselytizing such dire consequences. Only, it never happened. Instead, Britain’s economy has thus far outperformed the rest of Europe.

By freeing itself from the EU, while continuing to trade with it, Britain may end up better off. And if Great Britain walks away, other nations could follow.

Markets will respond in kind. Volatility will accompany the initial uncertainty. As economic ecosystems adjust. Eventually, following a cold, hard look, the marketplace will determine: are Brits better served by the economic stewardship of administrators in Brussels, or those in London? Only then will markets respond accordingly.

North Korea
The U.S. has led a campaign to pressure North Korea into relinquishing its nuclear arsenal. Using an escalating array of stringent sanctions. Thus far, to little avail. Economic indicators show day-to-day commerce in the country has remained resilient. And many residents appear to be adapting as market forces take deeper root.

North Korea’s currency, the won, has held steady against the dollar. Construction projects in Pyongyang continue. And many foreign products that were more visible before tighter sanctions have been replaced with locally made alternatives as domestic factories expand output. The lack of impact making President Trump’s exercise even trickier at this week’s summit with Kim Jong Un.

President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met for the first-time in Singapore last June. The summit marked a new era of diplomacy, with each side calling it a breakthrough.

Mr. Trump became the only sitting U.S. president ever to meet with a North Korean leader. While Mr. Kim cemented his place on the world stage. They emerged with an agreement, though it provided few particulars on the president’s stated goal of the rapid denuclearization of North Korea.

We expect few material results during this week’s meeting. However, the idea that North Korean missiles have been dormant since the beginning of the long-sought diplomacy has been a victory in and of itself.

Kim’s North Korea has much to gain by assuaging U.S. concerns and gaining access to American and South Korean markets, technology and know-how. But North Korea’s leader takes his cues from the Chinese. And may be following their lead by offering small trinkets to adversaries in an effort to buy time and extend the concealment of his true intent. There is simply no way of verifying the reality behind the public displays when dealing with such a closed, esoteric society like North Korea.

If tangible agreements were to be achieved? The results would be quite bullish for the Korean Peninsula, and greater Asia. As more open communication, fewer security concerns and newly accessible markets would serve as catalysts for trade and diplomacy. Not to mention the signal that a larger detente between the U.S. and China could be next. Of course, that is also, ironically, one of the reasons we don’t expect near-term achievements with the Kim regime.

Russia
The veil has been pulled back on Russia’s pervasive global meddling over many years. Indeed, that may be the untold tale of the last twenty years — how Russia attempted to break-up NATO, the EU, and influence European and U.S. elections. These are not new occurrences. But they have not been explored by the media and seem unpriced by the markets. Robert Mueller’s report will shed much light on what transpired leading up to the 2016 election. But thus far, the larger message has been missed in all the caterwauling between those accusing and those defending President Trump. Who has somehow displaced Putin as the drama’s central character.

Rasputin, Machiavelli and Sun Tzu would be proud.

Russia’s political landscape appears increasingly autocratic with every year Putin retains power. In fact, one of the prevailing political winds in Russia last year was the emergence of a movement to recognize the legitimacy of the Russian royal family. And in so doing, bring back the Czar. A plot so grandiose and deviant that it could only have been conceived of and trial ballooned by Putin himself. Who already fancies himself a Czar. And believes he would be well served to possess the requisite title. And the lifelong appointment that comes with it.

The country returned to a growth rate of 1.5 percent in 2017 following two years of economic decline. Recently, the International Monetary Fund raised Russia’s GDP growth forecast to 1.8 percent for 2019. Even as it cut global forecasts. The Russian economy has relied on key oil exports in the face of Western sanctions that drove down prices and weakened the ruble the last four years.

None of which arrived soon enough for supporters of the new Czar. As 2018 began to reveal chinks in Putin’s armor in the form of growing domestic discord over the suppression of political opponents and weakened government programs on the wings of tepid economic results. None of which prevented the Putin regime from continuing its program of regional bullying (Ukraine), geopolitical power plays (Syria), assassinating dissident expats (UK), or assassinating uncooperative Russian journalists.

Putin’s’ fortunes may rise and fall with the price of oil. Literally and figuratively. As Russia’s vast reserves enable him to pacify his constituency with domestic economic largess when prices rise. And continue to bolster his personal fortune, regardless of volatile oil prices. As Putin’s personal net worth has been estimated to be anywhere from $4 billion to $200 billion. Either way, his tenure atop the Russian Federation has been demonstrably profitable for Putin and his cronies. Nor do we expect his behavior this year to be any less bold.

Venezuela
The U.S. National Security Council informed several oil refiners that sanctions may be placed on Venezuelan oil imports. As the United States (and 39 others) reaffirmed support of Venezuela’s opposition leader, Juan Guaidó.

Venezuela’s failed government is both symptom and precursor of what happens in countries with failed economic policies. Venezuela’s system, a mix of socialism, corruption, massive government economic intervention and a disintegrating currency due to rampant money printing and little confidence in the government, has completely failed. There will be others. Venezuela’s clients and friendly states such as Nicaragua and Cuba could not survive without foreign aid from Russia and China. And both may lose a meaningful amount of capital when Venezuela’s government changes hands. But the real losers will be other Latin American socialists.

On February 7th, the U.S. sent millions of dollars in aid to Columbia, for distribution to its desperate neighbor. Four warehouses were filled with white plastic sacks of rice, beans, sugar and other items, labeled “from the American people.” But Maduro sent troops to the border. Closed off bridges and access points. Preventing his countrymen from getting the much-needed provisions. And ensuring they could not be brought in.

Maduro’s regime has been waging economic warfare against its own people. Resulting in an almost unfathomable million-percent inflation rate coupled with near-total social collapse by way of food shortages, people searching for food in garbage pails, violent crime, lack of medicine, and the breakdown of the health-care system. Three million refugees have fled to neighboring countries.

Consequently, there are now two competing governments in Caracas. Mr. Maduro’s legitimate term ended January 10. Juan Guaidó, president of the National Assembly, is Venezuela’s interim president according to the constitution. How the standoff ends will reverberate throughout the hemisphere.

Venezuela has the world’s largest proven oil reserves. Larger than Saudi Arabia’s. And for decades was a powerhouse of world oil production. But beginning with the Chavez era and leading through Mr. Maduro today, the former powerhouse has increasingly become a minor producer. Today Venezuela produces a tenth of what Saudi Arabia does. Last year the U.S. added more new oil production than Venezuela’s total output. North Dakota now produces more oil than Venezuela. What occurs in Caracas will impact global energy markets.

The industry has been deteriorating since Hugo Chávez launched a political takeover of the state oil company, PdVSA, in 2002. This led to a drastic fall in investment, a huge exodus of industry professionals, decay in wells and infrastructure, and theft of equipment and materials. Under Mr. Maduro, who took over after Chavez’s 2013 death, the decline has accelerated.

What transpires in 2019 is anybody’s guess. But now that there appears to be a legitimate alternative to the failed socialist policies of Maduro’s autocracy. There appears to be a ray of hope. What keeps Maduro in office? His bond with the military. At the heart of which exists a criminal enterprise based on drug running, money laundering, fraud and illegal mining, reports the U.S. Treasury. In other words, there are powerful vested interests — beyond the obvious ones — with much lose.

Until Maduro and his ilk are removed from power, there can be no room for any semblance of forward-looking Democratic leadership committed to reinvigorating the nation’s squandered natural resources. Venezuela’s people will continue to suffer. And Columbia, Spain, Chile, Ecuador, Brazil and Peru will continue to contend with massive inflows of Venezuelan refugees.

Neighboring Colombia has opened its borders to nearly 40,000 Venezuelans a day. Most buy food or medicine and return to Venezuela. But every day 5,000 stay in Colombia or other South American countries.

The United States, Canada, much of Latin America and most of the European Union have recognized Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate leader. Russia, China, Mexico and Cuba continue to provide Maduro with economic and military support. Extending the misery of those forced to live under his failed, brutal regime. But as international pressure mounts, we believe the longstanding tenure of Venezuela’s failed socialist autocracy will be resolved. How much does Venezuela have to lose until then?

The Middle East
During the holidays, Trump announced plans to withdrawal from Syria. While pullouts from Afghanistan and Iraq are supposedly being expedited. Though we now see reports that POTUS is having second thoughts about his Syria approach following a meeting with Senator Lindsey Graham. And plans to leave 400 military advisors there.

Commentaries are split into two very distinct camps. Some believe Trump is sending a message that U.S. involvement in these seemingly unending wars is over. And that military protection will involve a price. The other school of thought posits the President as reckless and impulsive.

There is another angle to consider and one that the market may not be not pricing.

For the U.S. to vacate the Middle East, an understanding was likely reached with the Russians. One meant to avoid regressing towards elevated violence in the region. Sure enough, not only has Putin recently expressed an interest in a wide-ranging dialogue with the U.S., but Erdogan has invited Trump to visit Turkey.

The U.S. involvement in the Middle East has always suited the Chinese by keeping the Americans distracted. More focus on China is antithetical to President Xi’s desires. Especially with his recent pronouncement that Taiwan must be reunited with China.

This is only one aspect of recent tectonic shifts in the Middle East. The other brings us to the Caribbean Basin.

Trump has already threatened to cut off trade and aid deals to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras as a direct response to recent migrant caravans. Honduras conveniently just decided to hold talks with Israel and the U.S. about opening an embassy in Jerusalem. This is very much in line with the actions of the newly elected and very much pro-Israeli Brazilian President Bolsonaro.

Which takes us back to Venezuela’s Maduro, who recently claimed that John Bolton was trying to assassinate him. That occurred while Secretary of State Pompeo was in Brazil and Colombia to discuss their collective approach towards Venezuela. And Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, just suggested that the U.S. needs to invest in Central and Latin America. Leading us to believe that Latin America is about to become a new battle ground for multiple proxy wars, both hot and cold, in 2019.

Finally, Iranian President Rouhani has yet to accept the resignation of Javad Zarif, the architect of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal. The departure threatens a crisis for Iran. Dealing a blow to beleaguered moderates. While marking a victory for hard-liners who favor confrontation with the West.

Some Iran watchers see Mr. Zarif’s departure as a casualty of the Trump administration’s hard-edged policies toward Iran. Which includes the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal. Mr. Zarif’s exit would leave a potential void in the world’s dealings with Iran, depending on his successor. As Zarif had become the point person for foreign officials seeking to engage Iran on a multitude of issues. Others view Zarif’s exit as a sign of his own frustration with a government that — even in treaty talks — has long refused to play nice with the other kids.

All of which serves to inject further uncertainty into one of the world’s most uncertain regions.

5G Technology
According to The Wall Street Journal, the global internet is splitting in two.

One side, championed in China, is a digital landscape where mobile payments replace cash. Smartphones are the prominent device. Users can shop, chat, bank and surf with one app. Unfortunately, this side is run by the government. Which is watching everything. And preventing you from anything resembling open architecture (Google, Facebook, Yahoo, etc.).

On the other side, the internet is open to all. Users can say what they want. Developers can roll out anything. But one must toggle among apps to chat, bank, shop and surf. And some sites are not optimized for smartphones.

Today, the two sides have begun to clash with the advent of a super-fast new generation of mobile technology called 5G. China seeks to become the world’s biggest purveyor of gear underlying the 5G network. Pushing client countries to adopt its approach — a version of the “Great Firewall” that Beijing uses to control the internet and contain the West’s influence.

Some Silicon Valley execs worry the divergence risks giving Chinese companies an advantage in new technologies like artificial intelligence. As they face fewer restrictions over privacy and data protection. Freedom which could be put towards, as westerners might conclude, more sinister ends.

These parallel universes have co-existed. Though China has blocked many of the western offerings. Promoting its domestic champions instead. And ensuring its lock on information flow. But today, their collision is exacerbating conflict between the U.S. and China. Could it drive more of the world to China’s cyberspace model?

Networks using 5G are expected to download movies in seconds to phones and other devices. Help enable self-driving cars. Military futurists say 5G may alter battlefields. Connecting tanks and drones with artificial intelligence. China seeks to expand its zone of influence with 5G. Aggressively promoting 5G networks. As well as its regulatory approach to using them. All in an effort to win cyberspace primacy.

Yet, China’s champion in these matters, Huawei Technologies Co., the world’s largest supplier of the equipment that goes into these networks, has recently come under fire. Being compared to the Chinese version of the “camel sneaking its nose into the tent.” Accused of mutliple efforts to spy on, manipulate and increase its influence over, well, everyone.

Huawei has been accused of stealing trade secrets, patents and technology. Even of selling equipment that China could eventually use to snoop on clients. And breaking Iran sanctions. China denies this. Even pointing towards Edward Snowden and his having blown the whistle on the NSA. As if to say, “It’s not just us.”

If the U.S. severs China’s ability to access critical U.S.-made components, China could build a 5G version that isn’t compatible with the U.S. network. Disrupting the global supply chain for 5G, and perhaps the development of the emerging countries involved.

To promote its notion of “cyber sovereignty,” also known as government-controlled internet, China has lobbied the United Nations. Demanding that internet regulation be deferred to states. Relegating industry and civil society to the sidelines.

For now, motivated consumers in China can span both internet worlds (minus many forbidden sites) using technology workarounds. Though the technology breakthroughs are often muted by the slower communication and dialogues. As the Chinese are forced to talk in code when discussing certain sensitive areas. Adding time and frustration. And setting the stage for a multitude of possibilities as global consumers ultimately determine market outcomes.

Bottom Line
Investors entered 2019 with glum expectations. Believing Q4 earnings would be poor. Driven by fears that slowing U.S. growth, tariffs and interest rates would dampen corporate profits and a recession would follow.

Roughly 85 percent of S&P 500 companies have reported earnings. The average Q4 earnings growth rate year-over-year is 13.1 percent. Besting expectations of 10.9 percent which was revised down from 12 percent in early December. The downward revisions come as economists and strategists see weakening global growth in the U.S., Eurozone, and China.

Perhaps more importantly, 59 S&P 500 companies have revised earnings guidance downward, while only 19 have revised guidance upward. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 is up 10.88 percent year-to-date. With many Wall Street strategists calling for gains on the index of between 9 – 15 percent. Q1 earnings growth is expected to decline 2.2 percent. Steeper than the 1.7 percent decline expected in January.

But those cuts appear to have been overdone. Factoring in the results of more than half of the companies in the S&P 500, firms are on track to grow earnings more than 12 percent year over year. Interestingly, even companies that have posted worse-than-anticipated results have seen share value rise. When stocks don’t go down on bad news? The gig is up for sellers. And bulls are back in charge.

Recent gains have nearly pulled the Nasdaq Composite out of bear-market territory. Which it entered on December 21 after falling more than 20 percent from the August high. The Nasdaq is up 19.5 percent from its Christmas Eve low.

Why are bulls winning? It’s not earnings. Which have been good. But not great. It’s because the Federal Reserve and other global central banks have essentially announced an end to the recent monetary tightening regime. And perhaps, the start of a new era of accommodation. The result of a flattening in Japanese and eurozone GDP, while Chinese GDP has slowed dramatically. And Canada threatens to do the same.

Two maxims resonate throughout every investment endeavor: 1) Don’t fight the Fed; 2) Don’t fight the tape.

Following Q4’s epic equity meltdown, the Fed has suddenly changed its tune to a much more accommodative stance. Which has caused the tape (stock market results) to switch back to a positive track. Because markets love the smell of cheap money. More than earnings growth. More than GDP growth. So, the idea of global central banks potentially embarking on a new liquidity binge releases all the animal spirits.

We believe that a variety of technologies and breakthroughs will echo across the year’s global landscape as consumers (and investors) are able to benefit by their rollouts and adoption. These represent fledgling but growing opportunities we believe could lead investors to the next [Huge Investment Success Story Here]. Many of these find us already investing. While some find us investigating the proper opportunities to harness their future growth. Such opportunities include:

▪ Sharing Economy Technologies
▪ Content Creation/Publishing/Streaming
▪ The Future of Aerospace & Defense
▪ Cyber Security
▪ Artificial Intelligence (AI)
▪ Internet of Things (IoT)
▪ Cloud Computing & Big Data
▪ Biotech and Medical Tech
▪ Agricultural Tech
▪ Medical… Clinical Testing
▪ Medical… Diagnostic Imaging
▪ Electronic Payment Processing & Fintech
▪ Insurance Evolution (Fintech)
▪ Data-Driven, Customized Digital Advertising
▪ Sports-Betting Technologies and Innovations
▪ Autonomous Vehicles (Chips/AI/Cloud Computing)
▪ 5G Networks
▪ Cannabis (Medical and Recreational)
▪ Blockchain Technology
▪ Alternative Energy and Energy Storage
▪ Potable Water Filtration/Creation
▪ 3D Printing
▪ Semiconductors/Microchips (Pertaining to all Above)

As any of these motifs send consequences rippling through global markets, anxious investors will respond. Seeking evidence, as they always do, of the current business cycle’s continuation. Or its demise.

Meantime, consider the words of renowned psychoanalyst Alfred Adler, who observed, “We are influenced not by the facts, but by our interpretation of the facts.” Or, perhaps you prefer Shakespeare, “There’s nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

Which is to say, there is less importance in what occurs during the year ahead than in our reactions to such occurrences. Markets will reverberate with fear and ecstasy whenever stock prices rise and fall. Victory or defeat will be determined by one’s decisions at the margins.

We will continuously revise the prism through which we view the world. Sharpen the methods by which we act upon those observations. And streamline and refine that methodology. All to provide you with the peace of mind in knowing that, more often than not, you will remain ahead of the curve. Better able to avoid the inevitable wrecks that will occur during the more difficult turns ahead.