Los Angeles Times

Almost nothing paid off for investors in 2018, as the bull market headed to the slaughter

WASHINGTON — In 2017, nearly everything investors touched made money.

Major stock indexes were up about 20 percent or more. Bonds turned in another solid year of gains. And the housing market was sizzling, with median home prices in Southern California up 8.2 percent from a year earlier to top the bubble-era high reached in 2007.

This year was looking to be even more promising. After all, big new tax cuts kicked in on Jan. 1 and were supposed to provide what President Trump called “rocket fuel” for the U.S. economy. Analysts expected that would help push an already soaring stock market to new heights.

Instead, 2018 has been a dud for investors across the board.

All the four major U.S. stock indexes declined at least 4.6 percent for the year through Friday — and they're poised to all finish with negative annual returns for the first time since 2008. And the poor performance was broad-based: nine of the 11 sectors in the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index are in the red for 2018.

As interest rates rose, bond returns fell, with one benchmark fund down about 3 percent. Gold didn’t fare much better. And don’t talk about Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency whose value

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