The markets have remained in a roller coaster trading range for most of the past three to four months. Most asset categories bounced around during the last five months, finishing in slightly negative territory for the year. In reality, we are almost back to where we started 2018.
The silver lining in all this is, even as prices dropped during the last quarter, the fundamentals of our economy have continued to improve. As of late March, the estimated earnings growth rate for the S&P 500 was a whopping 17.3 percent. This would be the highest earnings growth rate we have seen since 2011. Given the benefits of lower corporate tax rates on company earnings, the increase is not surprising, but the magnitude of it is. Additionally, the internals of the market have continued to hold strong as we have traded sideways for the last four months, which is typically a positive indicator for future movement.
We continue to believe this market correction will eventually give way to higher prices. We are going to continue to be at the whim of global geopolitical headlines. But, as long as the global economies continue to improve, the value of the markets should drive prices higher.
For some housekeeping news, we are pleased to offer you a copy of this year’s updated Part II of Form ADV, a disclosure document for our company. Some of the revisions to the Part II of Form ADV include changes and updates to our disclosures and material business practices. As previously mentioned, our new office location and Chief Compliance Officer are among the changes to our disclosures. For compliance purposes, we are transitioning from federal to state registration. Additionally, modifications were made to the outside business activity disclosures and conflicts of interest of our executive officers. These updates are outlined more specifically in the disclosure document. We would be happy to send you a copy if you simply email your request to Megan.
Now some market news, the markets are continuing to work through their volatile corrective phase. As we step away from the markets, we realize we are essentially flat for the year. We did not experience a 10% correction in the markets during the 2016-2017 time frame, which is abnormal. That being said, typically this type of low-volatility situation gives way to short-term time frames of heightened volatility. The roller coaster ride can make investors queasy. But, we think this is just a normal correction in an otherwise higher trending market.
The main catalyst behind this corrective phase is the talk from the White House regarding tariffs. Obviously, China and other countries around the world, have warned of retaliation and this brings up a bigger-picture fear of trade wars. In our estimation, there is a lot of posturing and positioning going on around the world. But, it would surprise us to see this turn into a global trade war. The global economies finally started to lift in 2017 and the last thing any government wants to do is break the golden egg.
This economic growth cycle has legs, but that does not necessarily mean we would not continue to go through this volatile phase for a period of time. That being said, a normal correction in this time frame is healthy and we believe it may be running its course soon.
With a team of seasoned professionals, we are excited about the future and confident in our ability to recognize and capitalize on economic trends. Of course, our overriding hope is that it translates into serving our clients in a manner that is second to none.