With the last few days of 2014 ticking down, this is a great time to look back at the year that was. Because boy was it an exciting one!
It’s not just Putin who has been aggressive, though. ISIS flexed its terrorist muscles in Iraq and Syria, all in the hope of creating an Islamic caliphate in the heart of the Middle East. Other lower-grade conflicts in Asia, Israel, and Africa have also pointed toward a future where the war drums will beat louder and louder.
|Oil-rich countries blamed the slump in oil prices on producers outside OPEC.|
Then there’s the oil and gas market. The American energy renaissance is a story of incredible domestic significance. With more exploration, production, storage, transportation, refining, and exporting of energy products occurring right here at home, the U.S. is once again one of the biggest energy powerhouses on the planet.
But OPEC nations aren’t going down without a fight. The Saudis in particular are trying to squeeze some of our homegrown energy firms by refusing to cut output.
That, in turn, helped cripple Russia’s oil-dependent economy, currency, and stock market late in the year. It also kicked the stuffing out of some sectors and investments I previously warned about — including emerging market debt and junk bonds.
But throughout it all, another trend emerged: The U.S. economy and U.S. stocks sailed along relatively unscathed … even as foreign ones tumbled! Job growth topped 200,000 a month here for the longest stretch in two decades, while manufacturing and retail spending picked up.
That led to a Global Money Tsunami of cash flowing from troubled overseas markets and economies to our shores. It’s why corrections have been shallower than usual, and why we’ve seen a vast performance gulf between U.S. stocks and foreign benchmarks.
I strived throughout the year to keep you abreast — and ahead — of those trends! And the success of many of the investments I’ve been recommending in Safe Money Report points to some success (even as a few other positions struggled very late in the year due to the pullback in energy).
So where do we go next? Which of these trends will persist — or intensify? And which are at danger of reversing? Stay tuned — I’ll be sharing my outlook for the year ahead soon!
Until next time,