Signs of a slowing Chinese economy may not be as detrimental to global markets as investors fear. A report from the Schwab Center for Financial Research gives investors a  reason to be optimistic. After the 2015 stock market had  its flattest year since 2011, many are now hoping for a “January effect”.  Chuck Mikolajczak of Reuters looks into the prospects for market gains in 2016. The seeming lack of movement in the 2015 markets is an illusion, according to Liz Ann Sonders of Schwab. She discusses the underlying pressures that drove last year’s volatile markets and what they may mean for 2016. Much as investors rely upon market forecasts, last year’s results are a reminder that even the best analysts can be off target. Matt Clinch of CNBC tells us who came closest to predicting the 2015 market trends.

Chinese Stock Market Selloff: What’s New, What’s Not–  Global stocks sold off sharply in the first trading day of the new year, as signs of a slowing Chinese economy revived fears about global growth. However, the Shanghai Composite’s  7% drop may not be as dire as it appears.  Schwab examines what is new and what’s not new in this article. Read more…

Investors Look To January Effect At Start Of 2016–  According to the Stock Trader’s Almanac, the direction of January’s trading predicts the course for the year 75 percent of the time.  Stocks could get a boost this month from the so-called “January effect,” when stocks that were sold off in December for year-end tax harvesting rally back in the next month as investors scoop them back up at lower prices. Read more…

Back To Zero: Market’s Flat Return Masks Underlying Pressures–   The S&P finished 2015 nearly flat at -0.7%, but only Rip Van Winkle would have thought it was a calm year.  In the article Liz Ann Sonders, Chief Investment Officer at Schwab, explains what drove performance … or lack thereof in 2015.  She looks at prior flat years and shows what happened the following year. Read more…

How The S&P 500 Experts Got It Wrong In 2015–  Proving that forecasting isn’t all plain sailing, analysts from the world’s biggest banks had mixed success with their predictions for the S&P 500 last year.  The S&P 500, which tracks the biggest U.S.-listed companies closed down almost 1 percent last Thursday at 2,043 points, down 0.73 percent for the year.  A mean average of the ten analysts’ calls suggested the benchmark would finish 2015 at 2,185 points, with a gain of just over 6 percent.  This article compares the 2015 predictions to the actual outcome. Read more…

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John R. Day, Bill Ennis, Stephanie Davidson and Matt Heller

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