While it's true that investors are already bullish and valuations are already high, neither of these implies a likelihood of negative returns in 2018. That the stock market rose strongly this year also has no adverse impact on next year's probable return.
A bear market is always possible, but is also unlikely. That said, the S&P typically experiences a drawdown every year of about 10%; even a 14% fall would be within the normal, annual range. It will feel like the end of the bull market when it happens.
The Fed will likely continue to raise rates next year, which normally leads to higher stock prices. While political risks seem high, the stock market usually ignores these. The "Year 2" presidential cycle provides no investment edge.
This article highlights 11 key ideas to explain what to expect in 2018.
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Heading into the end of the year, investment pundits are beginning to share their expectations for how stocks will fare next year. All ten strategists polled by Barron's expect the S&P to rise in 2018, by a mean/median of 6-7% (full article is here; the next three charts from Barron's). Enlarge any image by clicking on it.