Was The Market's Terrible January A Prelude To A Weak 2015? Does It Matter?

2015 began with one of the worst months for the stock market with the Dow Jones Index (NYSEARCA:DIA) falling 3.7% while the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) Index suffered a decline of around 3%. This poor performance was linked to several dark clouds hanging over investors. The main themes are:

1) Global GDP growth is faltering

In January the IMF cut its forecast for global growth by 0.3 percentage points to 3.5% this year and 3.7% next year. Japan has slipped back into recession, Europe is on the brink of recession, the developing world is facing commodity-linked headwinds, Russia's economy is in shambles and China is experiencing its slowest growth in a quarter century. Some point to the United States as a bright spot in the world economy citing its strong GDP growth relative to other countries, yet it should be remembered that Q4 GDP missed expectations dragged down by slowing business investment.

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