World markets began January 2018 where they left off in 2017. The US bull market then approaching a 10-year run was also beginning to influence world markets too. However, national and world events such as the Chinese economy, Brexit uncertainty, world oil prices, and US political turmoil led to uncertainty in investor’s minds that resulted in February stock market downturns. As volatility remained ever present during 2018, including up and down swings of 10% or more that included a record Dow Jones high in September, the markets could not, as analysts are fond of saying, ‘gain traction’. Despite that hopeful September high water mark, a brutal 4th quarter left the year with an annual loss of about 6%.

Although the church’s investments are tied to the world and domestic markets we have been fortunate in that our 2018 ‘losses’ (5.5%) were slightly less than the major index averages. However, we experienced losses just the same. Due to this fact, allocations to the 4 major categories all reflect a negative growth for the year (totaling -$54,547.18). Downturns are a normal occurrence in the stock market, occurring on average every 3-4 years. Given a long-term historical perspective of steady positive growth and our continued guidance from Edward Jones, the trustees have an optimistic outlook for 2019 and beyond.

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