It was a year that many pundits expected to deliver a major financial shock or economic recession.

But despite some trade war wobbles and low levels of business confidence, markets continued to break new records and the economy held steady.

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Market Watch, with Pie Funds chief executive Mike Taylor, has run the ruler over the big calls he made this time last year.


Here's what we got right, what we got wrong, and why:

1) Markets will not hit fresh lows (unless the US enters a recession in 2019)

The S&P500 and NASDAQ hit their lowest point in late December 2018, and have not been close since. The same applies to the MSCI World index, and Emerging Markets index.

2) If China/US trade issue is resolved and Fed stays on hold markets could hit new highs

They sure did.

The S&P500 and local NZX-50 reached record highs this year. This has been the case despite ongoing US-Chinese trade issues and any resolution being dragged out.

3) Emerging markets to outperform developed markets

Not this year. In theory emerging markets were starting the year off a much lower base, Taylor says. But MSCI developed markets index still outperformed the emerging market index.


4) No rate hike in New Zealand or Australia in 2019

There were no OCR hikes in Australia or New Zealand. In fact rates have been cut several times in 2019.

NZ OCR went from 1.75 per cent to 1 per cent with two cuts in May and August of 25 and 50 bps respectively. Australia cut three times, going from 1.5 per cent to 0.75 per cent with three 25 bps cuts in 2019.

5) Trump will get the money for his wall

He did. In July and September 2019 Pentagon funding was announced, which now totals around US$9.8 billion. More funding is to be expected. Broadly, despite all the noise and outrage, markets have coped pretty well with the Trump effect.

6) Oil to rebound on cuts to supply.

Oil prices took a huge dive in 2018 but the rebound began late in the year. "The oil market is much more about supply than demand," Taylor says.

This year the price has recovered significantly from the lows in December, where it was at only US$42.50 (WTI Crude).

It was highest in April, peaking at US$66, and has since eased to around US$58 again.

7) Market to sell off again in March

This one didn't pan out.

The general uptrend continued through March. The S&P500 started the month on 2803 and ended it on 2835, which is a 1.13 per cent increase.

8) Yield curve to invert in the US

When the rates on short term bonds go higher than the long-term rates it is described as an inversion and seen as a predictor of recession. Taylor stopped short of picking a recession in 2019 but did expect to see the yield curve invert.

And it did.

Between mid-May and mid-October yields for 3-month US Treasury Bills exceeded yields for 10-year Treasury Notes.

So all up that's 6 out of eight call correct for 2019. Not a bad run in such pretty volatile economic and political world.

We'll have Mike Taylor's Market Watch picks for 2020 next week.