Returns on stocks in 2018 were down across the board

ONE DAY in 1985 P. J. O’Rourke, an American humourist, invited a few friends to his home to take ecstasy. He wrote about the experience for Rolling Stone. For a veteran of the Age of Aquarius, the side-effects of recreational drugs—the frequent toilet trips; the grimy feeling on the skin; the fitful sleep later on—were familiar. It was all rather underwhelming. “Drugs are a one-man birthday party,” he explained. “You don’t get any presents you didn’t bring.”

Those who make a living navigating financial markets might understandably be reaching for the happy pills, or at least a couple of painkillers. For them, 2018 was a rotten year. Stockmarket losses were spread widely across the globe (see chart). The total return—capital gains or losses plus dividends—from the S&P 500 index of leading American shares was negative for the first time in a decade. Other markets were worse, notably China’s,...

via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

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