U.S. stocks had another strong quarter, despite continued volatility. Strong earnings reports dominated sentiment, overriding investor concerns about the ongoing trade war with China and increasing worries about the effects of higher interest rates.
Sweeping cuts in corporate and individual tax rates, along with continued robust readings on economic growth and employment, helped to propel U.S. stocks higher in the second quarter of 2018. Escalating trade tensions were a headwind.
Volatility returned to the stock market in the first quarter. Stocks posted strong gains in January on the momentum of U.S. tax reform, but tumbled in February and March on signs of higher wage inflation and trade conflict between the U.S. and China.
Amid a backdrop of solid economic numbers and rising hopes for enactment of tax reform, stocks enjoyed substantial gains during the fourth quarter.
Stock markets continued to rally in the third quarter. Signs of broad-based global growth supported stocks, and company reports of sales and earnings were generally better than expected.