Here’s what 12 Wall Street pros are predicting for the stock market in 2018

Almost no one is bearish.

This year is poised to be one of the most profitable for the S&P 500 in this bull market, now entering its ninth year, with a double-digit gain. And all the lead strategists at top Wall Street firms expect many of the same catalysts to lift stocks again in 2018, particularly earnings growth and US economic expansion.

Across the board, the GOP’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is expected to boost the profits of America’s largest companies, and possibly reward shareholders through more buybacks.

But 2018 may not rival 2017 as one of the most peaceful in market history. Some strategists warn that the regular pullbacks that create volatility could resume.

Here’s what strategists forecast for 2018, in ascending order of their year-end targets for the S&P 500:

HSBC: 2,650

“US M&A levels are down 20% year-over-year,” said Ben Laidler, HSBC’s global equity strategist and head of Americas research, in a Bloomberg TV interview on December 4.

“So I think we’re certainly due for a pickup. We’ve got a bit of visibility with the tax reform that will allow that to accelerate. US corporates are sitting on a lot of cash. They are sitting on high multiples. I definitely think we’re going to see a pickup here.

I also think we’ll see something on the capex front, and a little will go a long way given that US capex is the most depressed in the world. But I still think most of it goes on share buybacks.”

Citi: 2,675

“Tax cuts could be quite stimulative to S&P 500 EPS,” said Tobias Levkovich, Citi’s chief US equity strategist, in a November 15 note.

“We suspect that investors may not be willing to accord the same P/E for earnings generated by a lower tax rate versus …read more

Source:: Business Insider

Bridge: Dec. 17, 2017

Tribune Content Agency

Unlucky Louie and his family attend a church near the bridge club, and Louie serves on the building and grounds committee.

“Didn’t you tell me last year that a squirrel had taken up residence in your church’s kitchen area?” I asked Louie.

“We solved that problem,” he said.

“You hired an exterminator?”

“That wasn’t necessary,” Louie replied. “We trapped the squirrel, baptized him and made him a member of the church. Now he doesn’t show up except on Christmas Eve and maybe Easter Sunday.”

When Louie was declarer at today’s slam, he had a similar problem: how to eradicate two seemingly unavoidable losers.

Against his six spades, West led the queen of hearts, and Louie won with the king and cashed the A-K of trumps. West wasn’t in the Christmas spirit; he threw a diamond. Louie stewed for a while, took his queen of trumps, stewed some more and finally tossed in his cards, conceding a trump and a heart.

“I hold 26 high-card points,” Louie grumbled, “and take a minus score.”

Did Louie give up too easily?

After Louie takes his three high trumps, he cashes the ace of hearts and A-K of clubs, leads a diamond to dummy and ruffs a club. He takes the K-A of diamonds — fortunately, East must follow suit — and leads dummy’s last club at the 12th trick.

East is helpless. If he ruffs, Louie discards his heart loser and wins the last trick with his last trump. If instead East discards, Louie ruffs, and East-West’s heart trick and trump trick fall together at Trick 13.

South dealer

N-S vulnerable

NORTH

S 9 7 3

H 8 7 6

D A Q 5

C 8 7 6 5

WEST

S 4

H Q J 10 5

D 9 8 4 2

C J 10 4 3

EAST

S J 10 8 5

H 9 3 2

D J 10 6

C Q 9 2

SOUTH

S A K Q …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

Horoscopes: Dec. 17, 2017

CELEBRITIES BORN ON THIS DAY: Milla Jovovich, 42; Bill Pullman, 64; Eugene Levy, 71; Ernie Hudson, 72.

Happy Birthday: Make personal changes that will ease your stress and bring you the type of lifestyle that will encourage greater relaxation. Delve into your interests with passion and make a point to play more and work less. Refuse to let what others do interfere with your plans. Be true to yourself and follow the path that leads to inner happiness. Your numbers are 2, 15, 21, 27, 32, 39, 41.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Personal change looks inviting. Try your hand at something new. Indulge in personal plans that promise to bring you joy. Past experience will help you make good choices. Love is building and personal gestures will encourage romance. 5 stars

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Don’t miss out on an opportunity because of what someone else does. Opt to go it alone and to keep your dealings separate from someone who is not willing to give you a straight answer. A day trip will ease your stress. 3 stars

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Don’t give in to emotional blackmail. Truth is the best way to put a problem to rest so that you can move forward and enjoy your day. Plans with someone you love will improve your relationships and future prospects. 3 stars

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Unexpected changes will leave you feeling uncertain. Stay calm and focused on the people and things you know and trust, not something you can’t change. Nothing will be too difficult if you are prepared to do your own thing. 3 stars

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): A change in the way you do things will send you in a new direction. Travel plans, job alternatives and using your skills and talents in unique ways …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

Word Game: Dec. 17, 2017

TODAY’S WORD — EXTRINSIC (EXTRINSIC: ek-STRIN-sik: Not part of or belonging to a thing; extraneous.)

Average mark 49 words

Time limit 60 minutes

Can you find 64 or more words in EXTRINSIC?

TODAY’S WORD — EXTRINSIC exist exit xeric tern tier tine tinier tire trice tries trine rein rent resin rest rice rinse rise risen rite icier iciest incest incise incite inciter inert insect insert inset inter irenic iris neritic nest next nice nicer nicest nisei nitric nixes scent sect sent since sine sire siren site snit stein stern stir cent cire cist cistern cite cities citrine crest cretin cries

To purchase the Word Game book, visit WordGameBooks.com. Order it now for just $5 while supplies last!

RULES OF THE GAME:

1. Words must be of four or more letters.

2. Words that acquire four letters by the addition of ”s,” such as ”bats” or ”dies,” are not allowed.

3. Additional words made by adding a ”d” or an ”s” may not be used. For example, if ”bake” is used, ”baked” or ”bakes” are not allowed, but ”bake” and ”baking” are admissible.

4. Proper nouns, slang words, or vulgar or sexually explicit words are not allowed.

Contact Word Game creator Kathleen Saxe at kzsaxe@gmail.com.

…read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

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