"Yes, I know the current (bear?) market has me frustrated"
**I did notice the question mark behind (bear?)**
Here's one definition of a bear market.
Although figures can vary, for many, a downturn of 20% or more in multiple broad market indexes, such as the Dow Jones industrial average and/or the Standard & Poor's 500 index over at least a two month period, is considered an entry into a bear market.
According to this definition, we aren't in a bear market, & I would tend to agree.
"My view is that the overall economy is improving and that pent-up good news on earnings, performance and other factors would eventually mitigate the bad news"
No disrespect, but how long have we been hearing that 'the economy is improving' ?
We've had historical low interest rates in most of the world for the past seven years. With that enticement for people to spend, how is it going to get better, how are earnings going to improve, especially if the fed starts raising rates at some point ?
As far as 'good earnings' I have to disagree. Of course there are companies out there whose earnings have exploded over the past 7-10 years. Netflix, Priceline, Chipotle, Apple, etc.
But the vast majority of large US multinationals haven't.
I don't have any figures to prove this, but It seems a lot of large multinational US corporations, have used share buybacks over the last 7 or 8 years to 'artificially inflate' earnings growth.
Another concern I have is the percentage of Americans that pay Federal taxes.
For tax year 2011, the non-partisan Tax Policy Center estimates that only 54 percent of Americans will pay Federal income tax. **I realize this is three tax years removed, and things could have improved by this point**
Source: Is it true that only 53 percent of Americans pay income tax? - HowStuffWorks
I don't have the proper vocabulary to try and explain what this means.
I only know it's probably not a good sign when 46.00% of 1040 filers get back as much, or more than they paid in.
For 32 years, interest rates have been on a downward trend.
In those 32 years, US companies downsized, & outsourced overseas.
Plus throw in the technology factor ,especially in manufacturing & it adds to more unemployed/underemployed.
Corporate America has had the 'perfect storm' for earnings growth over the past 32 years. And I feel that's coming to an end now.
I'm not saying interest rates are going to 1970s levels,. I hope they never get close to that, but I do believe they'll be going up in the near future
My simple opinion is this. The great productivity boom is over & earnings peaked a couple years ago.
I'm not trying to be a Donny Downer, I'm not going to get political, & I'm definitely not saying the market is going to crash, or has to crash.
My prediction is that the major averages, Dow Jones , S&P 500, & the NASDAQ, will probably go nowhere for the following 3 to 5 years.
Of course, there's always going to be individual companies & sectors that do much better than the averages.
And if you're good enough to pick them, you'll do very well.
As for me, I continue to hold stodgy old companies like, AT&T, Colgate, Johnson & Johnson, 3-M, Emerson, Eli Lilly, Kraft Heinz, etc.
Dividends, dividends, dividends!!
I also own Novartis, which I like to call the Johnson & Johnson of Europe,
a couple healthcare related REIT's, & a couple healthcare related ETF's.
As a matter of fact, I added some Fidelity MSCI Health Care ETF (FHLC) today. It was down around 2.00% this AM, and I couldn't figure out why ? Later I saw that Hillary had tweeted something about high drug prices & it send those stocks down.
All this being said, I hope I'm dead wrong & all the major averages skyrocket the next 3 to 5 years.
Good luck to all