What Moved the Markets in December? | Personal Capital
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What Moved the Markets in December?

The Trade War

Stocks rose in December, punctuating a big year for stocks and a remarkable decade in capital markets. The trade conflict between the US and China finished 2019 on a positive note, with a “phase one” deal being agreed to in principle. While productive talks are a good sign, tariffs remain significantly higher than when the year began. Trade will remain a persistent headline for months or years to come.


In the UK, Boris Johnson won a decisive victory in a general election, giving him the required votes to take the UK out of the European Union, virtually assuring Brexit. This will of course create some economic disruption, but the process has been so prolonged that we expect most major participants are adequately prepared and impact to global growth will be minimal.


Congress passed the SECURE Act which pushed back the age for required minimum distributions from IRAs from 70.5 to 72, but only for those turning 70.5 in 2020 or later. On the flip side, moving forward, IRAs inherited by non-spouses will now generally have to be distributed within 10 years. The changes overall are a positive for many but could be costly for those who inherit an IRA in their prime working years. The rules are also expected to increase the use of annuities in 401k accounts, an example of successful lobbying by the financial industry.

Read More: How Will the SECURE Act Impact You?

The content contained in this blog post is intended for general informational purposes only and is not meant to constitute legal, tax, accounting or investment advice. You should consult a qualified legal or tax professional regarding your specific situation. Keep in mind that investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate over time and you may gain or lose money.

Any reference to the advisory services refers to Personal Capital Advisors Corporation, a subsidiary of Personal Capital. Personal Capital Advisors Corporation is an investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training nor does it imply endorsement by the SEC.

Craig Birk leads the Personal Capital Advisors Investment Committee and serves as Chief Investment Officer. His focus is translating improvements in technology into better financial lives. Craig has been widely quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, CNN Money, the Washington Post and elsewhere. Prior to Personal Capital Advisors, he was a leader within the portfolio management team at Fisher Investments, helping assets under management grow from $1.5 billion to over $40 billion. Craig graduated from the University of California at San Diego and has earned the Certified Financial Planner® designation.
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Building my emergency fund
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