Well folks as you might imagine a government shutdown leaves many industries without the daily data to run their business properly. Our Government, like our commerce, is data dependent too. Patching together the data we can see residential real estate has slowed somewhat. For the fourth quarter of 2018, the segment grew at a 4.1% year over year rate which is the slowest pace since 2011. December however, with lower borrowing rates and lower offering prices brought buyers back. Negative and volatile stock market returns also could have dampened home buyer demand in the short term. December 2018 closed down 7% with January 2019 appreciating about the same. Good news on the geopolitical front punctuated with the government announcement of a delay in the imposition of higher tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports scheduled to take effect on March 1. This year put a positive tone on the future of relations with our major global trading partners.
With 90% of companies reporting the 4th quarter earnings growth rate for S&P 500 companies was 13.8%. Our small-cap companies outpaced both mid-cap and large-cap companies for 2018. Unlike 2018 with leadership concentrated in three sectors ALL
S&P 500 SECTORS FOR 2019 are positive through March 1. I would keep the champagne corked for a few more quarters but business is looking good. I think that 2019 will be another good year, not great but good! More work to do with our senior's leaders. Maybe Charm school for the worst offenders. Best regards David