January 1 does not just mark a new year, it also marks a new decade.
To put that into context, look back at the last decade as 2009 rolled into 2010. The Dow Jones Industrial closed 10,428.05 on Dec. 31, 2009. On Tuesday it closed at 28,538.44. The NASDAQ at the end of the last decade closed at 2269.15. The tech-heavy exchange ended the year at 8,972.60
Ten years ago at this time, there were no iPads under any Christmas trees, it didn't debut until January of 2010. Multi-use rockets to space were science fiction until November of 2015 thanks to Blue Origin and SpaceX, which have re-ignited the space race.
Then, there are things that are no longer with us. In 2013, the days of trips to Blockbuster ended as the last of the retail stores were shut down (though one store remains). Pontiac once ruled the roads, but in 2010 General Motors put the brakes on the brand with franchise agreements for dealers expiring on Halloween -- it was no trick or treat.
So what's ahead for 2020? We asked some of Fox Business Network anchors and correspondents to weigh in with picks, predictions or prognostications for 2020.
Cheryl Casone, anchor, FBN: am
Looking ahead to 2020 I think there are three things to really watch for:
First, it’s obviously an election year and as we get more into the rhetoric about taxes and the economy, I think we’re going to have to really start to dig deep down and analyze what these candidates have to say. The big thing will be of course the result of that election in November. Wall Street will be watching. I think President Trump wins based on the economy.
Second, there’s been so much talk about a recession in 2020, especially in the first quarter. I do not see that happening. My prediction is the market and the economy will continue to be strong. Of course, it is always nice to see a small pullback and maybe we will get that at some point in the year but I just don’t see it happening in January or February.
Third, I’ll be keeping an eye on the jobs picture. It’s been great to see unemployment at a 50-year low, but my prediction for 2020 is that we’re finally going to see wages meaningfully head higher. Companies are doing better and they will start to pay their employees better in 2020.
Neil Cavuto, anchor, Cavuto Coast to Coast
Impeachment remains likely to be a major news event in the new year, but that doesn’t mean it will be a “business news” event to watch in the new year. For all the hype and polarizing attention, markets have ignored this long and sorted political saga. Investors are taking it as a given the President’s impeachment goes no further than the House of Representatives, with a quick, and likely unceremonious end, in the Senate. That’s why it’s not on Wall Street’s radar. Here are some of the things that will be:
If 2019 ended as the year of the “trade tease,” 2020 will be the year we discover whether the tease lived up to the hype. By then, we should not only know the details of trade agreements but whether the countries with whom we’ve agreed to them, will honor them. Remember, there are two big accords we’re talking about: the one with China, and the other with Mexico and Canada. Neither are slam-dunks. The Mexicans are still protesting U.S. labor inspectors in their country monitoring compliance. And the Chinese have yet to spell out when and how many agricultural goods they’ll buy from the U.S., and during what time period. That means, despite the hype, no one has yet to sign off on the details that remain alarmingly vague.
Forget the heated political election year, when it comes to bashing technology, expect both parties to be preaching (and railing) from the same choir sheet. Democrats and Republicans are oddly united on bringing the tech giants down a peg or two. Democrats argue these companies have simply become too big for their britches and should be broken up. Republicans, led by President Trump, say their content is so skewed and biased, that they need to be fundamentally “realigned.” That likely means some de-fanging for the FANG stocks (and some non-FANG stocks as well), including Facebook, Amazon, Google, and possibly Apple. What better time to make a political-bashing statement than slap-dab in the middle of a presidential election year? Watch this one closely. There’s a reason why big tech should feel like General Custer. They really ARE surrounded!
Housing will get hotter in 2020. I didn’t say “hot,” just “hotter.” And the difference will be younger, namely millennial buyers coming in, helping to reestablish a domino of events that could lift the entire real estate sector. The sudden surge in younger buyer interest has picked up considerable steam in just the last few months. If it holds, and I suspect it will, it stands to reverse the sluggish dynamic that has been holding housing back — hurt at the lower end by a lack of buyers and a general lack of interest. Assuming interest rates remain low, and job growth remains strong and the millennial “foot traffic” picks up, expect all this to feed on itself and up the housing food chain — particularly along the coasts. But not “just” the coasts — Cities including Nashville, Tenn., and Rochester, N.Y., have been marked as “undervalued buys.” They are among some of the more price-friendly and tax-friendly locales that stand to see the most buyer interest. That doesn’t mean “booming interest,” but most in the real estate world would more than happily accept “more interest.”
Liz Claman, anchor, The Claman Countdown
Watch what Warren does in 2020!
Within 45 days of the end of every quarter, market big-wigs have to file what’s called a 13F form. (“Big Wig” is defined as hedge fund managers and CEOs like Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett who have the power to cause gyrations in the market if the world knows what they’re buying and selling on a day-to-day basis). The form requires disclosure of the name of the stock, the class of the security, and the number of shares said manager bought during the quarter. As of this writing, we’re still tacking on to the longest bull market in history. The Oracle of Omaha is frugal! He likes to dive in when others are fleeing because during sell-offs, stocks are cheaper and valuations become more palatable. So absent of a correction or drop in the market, finding out what he’s buying now is like having the professor do your homework for you. He and his two stock-pickers, Todd Combs and Ted Wechsler, only buy what they feel matches the Buffett metrics.
Prediction: BOTH the Russians *and* the Chinese will be busted for trying to hack, meddle and/or affect the 2020 presidential election. If the cybersecurity company that discovers it is publicly traded, expect its shares to spike.
Concern: North Korea. Kim Jong Un is so unstable, and one could argue is like a wounded animal backed into a corner, that he could do something crazy like a test or actually launch a missile that gets too close to Japan or the U.S. territory of Guam where 6,000 service people are stationed. That could have a black swan effect on the markets and trigger a sharp sell-off.
Jackie DeAngelis, Correspondent
Three things to watch next year that will impact the market:
The Fed: After three cuts in 2019, the Fed is on pause. But the president isn’t satisfied with rates where they are. He just tweeted that he thinks the dollar is too strong and more cuts are needed. What will Jerome Powell do? The stock market seems to be satisfied with a pause, further cuts would be likely to boost the market. JP’s in an interesting spot.
China: The market was happy to receive the gift of a phase one deal before Christmas, but how does the China trade story play out next year? There’s still more work to be done and the parties have said they’ll start working on phase two immediately. China headlines are powerful and they moved markets this year. The China story isn’t over; it’s just getting started.
The Election: The economy has been Trump's greatest accomplishment, so the economy will impact the election and the election will impact the economy. Love him or hate him, the people I’ve spoken to on Wall Street say they want him to win, they do not want to deal with the policies of Warren, Sanders or even Biden, which would involve higher taxes and spending.
Kristina Partsinevelos, Correspondent
Concern: Despite the continuous stock market record highs, many traders are approaching the beginning of 2020 with caution. Options traders are buying contracts that would make them money if the S&P 500 drops in the next few months. The CBOE Skew Index, much like the VIX, measures the expectation of unusual or “black swan” market events. That index hit a high we haven’t seen since September 2018, showing investor sentiment remains restrained despite the strong economy and buoyant stock market.
Trend: Sustainable efforts will continue to have a huge impact across all industries heading into 2020. Whether it be sustainable shoes like Reebok’s first plant-based running shoe. (I’m just waiting for someone to make a video and attempt to cook and eat the shoe) or sustainable farming. With the hype around Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, the past year has shown consumers want to know the way we produce food, or how we produce food. The trend is even prevalent within the agriculture sector. I met several farmers at a conference in Omaha, Neb., who increased their efforts to ensure their farming practices are as beneficial for the earth as it for our tables.
Concern: I have started to refer to China's control around the globe as modern-day colonialism and I worry we aren’t paying enough attention to the China is wielding. Data from the most recent Financial Times research revealed nearly two-thirds of the world’s top 50 companies had some degree of Chinese investment by 2015, up from one-fifth in 2010. Chinese schools are popping up in greater numbers in places like Australia and Africa; Rwanda boasts an entire Chinese speaking brigade. China continues to expand its infrastructure using its Belt and Road Initiative with investments spanning 152 countries. It’s, as my friend and frequent Fox Business contributor John Layfield would say, a systematic slow creep. Just this year, China launched a subsidiary of the global financial messaging service platform SWIFT in response to the growing demand for the Yuan. China is moving towards becoming the sole superpower, without the need for battle and the U.S. could be left behind.
Ashley Webster, Correspondent
The Bull Market Lives On: This time last year the markets began to tank on fears of a slowing global economy, a U.S. economy that surely must start to slow down, a feisty trade war with China and economic data that had so-called experts proudly proclaiming a looming recession for America.
They were wrong.
The most hated bull market in history began in March of 2009 and has taken markets relentlessly higher. It’s the best performing bull market since World War II. In fact, remarkably, the S&P 500 has gained more than 470-percent during that time.
I believe this will continue in 2020. The U.S. economy remains solid, a trade deal with China will continue in phases and Wall Street believes the Democrat’s socialist agenda will put Donald Trump’s market-friendly administration back in the White House for another four years.
There is still plenty of cash still sitting on the sidelines that will provide more fuel to push stocks higher. As Europe continues to struggle, investors desperate for any type of yield will turn to this side of the Atlantic. That goes for much of the global investment community.
Throw in an accommodative, passive Federal Reserve and this Bull Run will have plenty of legs in 2020. Enjoy the ride and see your retirement accounts grow.
A 5G World: Like everyone else, I’m intrigued and expectant to see what a 5G world looks and feels like. We’ll find out in 2020.
I’m far from a tech expert but I know that 5G stands for fifth-generation cellular wireless. According to the hype, 5G will provide greater download speeds, up to five to ten times faster than 4G LTE. We can also expect much-improved video streaming and the ability to connect more devices to the network.
It will also have big implications for other products that rely on network connections, everything from virtual reality to autonomous vehicles.
In short, 2019 will be known as the network stone age.
For investors, 5G will offer some interesting investment choices. Most analysts believe companies with the most exposure and potential for growth include Verizon Communications, Cisco Systems and Nokia.
Apple is expected to roll out its 5G iPhones in the fall of 2020. That could trigger the first significant upgrade cycle in years, despite the eye-watering rumored price of $1,250. But consumers may also benefit from a price war between AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.
Whether you’re excited or not get ready for some major buzz over 5G in 2020.
Tech stocks: Every day on Varney & Company we track the movements of the big tech stocks, and with good reason. According to Goldman Sachs, Big tech has been the very backbone of the bull market. In fact, Apple alone has contributed 20 percentage points of the S&P 500 total return. Microsoft has added 17 percent and Amazon 9 percent.
Analysts say it’s worrying that just a handful of stocks are carrying so much of the upward impetus but it’s impossible to ignore the size and power of these companies and difficult to bet against them.
I’ll be expecting these same tech behemoths to post impressive gains but there is a caveat. Until regulations hurt the business models of these companies it appears negative news, such as data breaches, do little to hurt the stock price. But I think regulation — comprehensive regulation — is on the horizon.
Europe has already thrown down the gauntlet with its “General Data Protection Regulation” or GDPR. It’s designed to improve the data protection rights of users and clarifies what companies must do to safeguard those rights.
The regulations went into effect in May of 2018 and while protecting users it has hurt European business. According to Merrill Corporation, 55 percent of M&A professionals surveyed said they had worked on transactions that failed because of compliance issues with GDPR.
Another survey by Bitkom in Germany showed 75 percent believed that data protection requirements are the main obstacle to the development of technologies.
I only mention this because, too often, there are unintended consequences to well-intentioned regulations and as U.S. lawmakers set their sights on big tech companies the outcome is far from certain.
But until that point, I truly believe big tech will continue to lead the way in 2020!