An Investor’s Ode to 2016

As the year winds down, trading volume generally diminishes as institutional investors button up their portfolios for the year. The general momentum of the stock market is positive and the big drama now is whether the Dow Jones Industrial Average will finally break out above 20,000 for the first time.

It’s always a useful exercise to take a look back at year’s end, and I like to do it every December in verse. Sometimes it’s a celebration of progress and prosperity and sometimes the news has been mixed. I’ll leave the label up to you, but here’s how I describe the biggest stories of the year. This is my ode to 2016:

Every year, like every wine, has its own flavor
Some linger on the palate like a blessing
Some are a little more of a challenge to savor
Sitting in the mouth like spoiled turkey dressing.

This year’s biggest story was the unexpected ascent of Trump
A modest, introspective man of quiet dignity
Whose appeal to all but the most committed grump
Foretells a period of historical benignity.

Not.

Markets spent much of the year in a state of nerves
Beset by uncertainty about the Fed’s impending hiking of rates
Which, given weakness in the global economy’s swoops and swerves
Made investors feel they were pawns in the hands of the fates.

Other irritations made investors cringe like mice in a roomful of cats
Normally sane Britain got its crazy on to vote for Brexit
After all, that free-market stuff is only good for plutocrats
And xenophobes came out in droves to vote to exit.

The price of oil was oh-so-low, as OPEC wells kept pumping
That kept investors up at night, worryin’ about the crude.
But regular folks, getting a break at the pump, hoped oil would keep on slumping
And nobody worried too much if a few Mideast oil sheikhs got screwed.

Janet Yellen and rate hikes had an on-again, off-again romance
The Fed chief wanted to kick rates higher like anything
Like a nerd who wants to ask a cheerleader to a dance
But one increase in December was all she could swing.

The year had lighter moments, too, especially in the game world
As Pokemon Go insanity just went systemic
Addicts wandered into traffic and many a player’s fenders were curled
It’s kinda fun when the world is swept by a non-fatal epidemic.

The list of terrible stories during the year was long
Migrant crisis
Battling ISIS
Suicide devices
Wells Fargo’s crapstorm of unprincipled greed!
(Which doesn’t rhyme, but was definitely totally wrong!)

All we can hope now is that 2017 will leave us with a better taste
It seems inevitable, but we don’t want to challenge the ingenuity of fate
At Cabot we will do our best to see that every opportunity gets chased
Every question answered and all our advice given clear and straight.

We wish you a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, Happy Holidays
For everyone who cherishes our progress toward longer days
Like you, we hope for a year that’s a little calmer, a little less mean
But still thriving and profitable as any we’ve seen.

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