Next Philippines president will inherit country near collapse

The winner of the presidential election next month will have to raise taxes to deal with huge debt and rising poverty.

MANILA // Whoever wins next month's presidential election in the Philippines will inherit a government facing fiscal collapse and will be forced to take extreme measures, such as increasing taxes to raise revenue, according to some of the country's leading economists. When Gloria Macapagal Arroyo came to power in 2001 after the ousting of Joseph Estrada she inherited a deficit of eight billion pesos (Dh660 million). When she steps down at midnight on June 30 she will leave behind a deficit in excess of 300bn pesos.

Poverty has risen under Mrs Arroyo's watch, the education system has fallen apart and the public health system has virtually collapsed. Estimates as to the number of people living in poverty - and getting by on less than a dollar a day - varies from 20 million to 30 million. The World Bank estimates the number is 28 million. Between 2003 and 2006 nearly four million people slipped below the poverty line despite the fact the economy was showing signs of solid growth.

Either Benigno Aquino or Manuel Villar, the front-runners to take the reins from Mrs Arroyo, will have their work cut out for them. "The next president of the Philippines will inherit a fiscal position that is teetering on the brink of collapse," according to Ben Dikono, a former budget secretary and economics professor at the University of the Philippines. Speaking at a seminar, "Elections 2010: The Morning After" in Manila this month, Prof Dikono said infrastructure is crumbling, the education system has gone from being one of the best in South East Asia to one of the worst, while there are major backlogs in power, water, roads and mass transit programmes throughout the country.

"I don't envy the next president because no matter what was promised in the election campaign he will have little room to move. He will need to make some hard choices including broadening the country's narrow tax base and increase tax revenues." With a workforce of 37 million, less than 20 per cent are employed in the formal sector which is made up by salaried employees who pay tax. Mr Dikono said the next president should press Congress to reform the tax system, especially excise taxes on cigarettes and tobacco or the so-called "sin taxes".

Attempts to reform excise taxes in the past have been met by strong opposition from the tobacco companies. A paper by the Asia Foundation said recently that over the past 10 years the Philippines has experienced "modest growth", averaging 4.4 per cent annually. Last year the Philippines recorded just 0.9 per cent growth while Indonesia expanded by 4.5 per cent, Vietnam 5.3 per cent and Laos 6.7 per cent.

A former head of the National Economic and Development Authority, Felipe Medalla, told the Manila forum the next government will need to focus on trying to get foreign investors to invest in the power sector to build new power stations, which the country desperately needs. But it is the education and public heath sectors that are in desperate need of attention. According to the 2010 UN Education for All Global Monitoring report, the Philippines spent 2.3 per cent of its national income in 2007 on education - the second lowest only to Cambodia's 1.7 per cent. Indonesia was the highest in the region, spending 4.7 per cent on education.

A former education secretary, Jose Luz, was quoted in the Philippine Daily Inquirer recently as saying education in the Philippines was not advancing. "It's not going anywhere. Spending is flat while our neighbours are spending on education," he said. Mr Luz is widely expected to be the education secretary if Mr Aquino is elected president on May 10. Mr Luz is responsible for Mr Aquino's education policy, which is widely regarded as the most progressive of the presidential contenders.

According to education specialists, the Philippines has still not achieved universal primary education. About 25 per cent of children entering school drop out before Grade 5 and that has not changed in 10 years, while less than 60 per cent enrol in secondary school. Studies have shown that children from the richest 20 per cent of households get an average of 11 years education compared with six years for the poorest 20 per cent.

Similar to education, the public health system has been allowed to deteriorate over the years to a point where hospitals are run down and poorly equipped. The government spends less than three per cent of its gross domestic product on health care, which is two per cent lower than the recommended World Health Organisation's minimum. Geneve Rivera, the secretary general of the Health Alliance for Democracy, said recently: "Quality health care is simply out of the reach of ordinary Filipinos."

@Email:foreign.desk@thenational.ae

Haircare resolutions 2021

From Beirut and Amman to London and now Dubai, hairstylist George Massoud has seen the same mistakes made by customers all over the world. In the chair or at-home hair care, here are the resolutions he wishes his customers would make for the year ahead.

1. 'I will seek consultation from professionals'

You may know what you want, but are you sure it’s going to suit you? Haircare professionals can tell you what will work best with your skin tone, hair texture and lifestyle.

2. 'I will tell my hairdresser when I’m not happy'

Massoud says it’s better to offer constructive criticism to work on in the future. Your hairdresser will learn, and you may discover how to communicate exactly what you want more effectively the next time.

3. ‘I will treat my hair better out of the chair’

Damage control is a big part of most hairstylists’ work right now, but it can be avoided. Steer clear of over-colouring at home, try and pursue one hair brand at a time and never, ever use a straightener on still drying hair, pleads Massoud.

Haircare resolutions 2021

From Beirut and Amman to London and now Dubai, hairstylist George Massoud has seen the same mistakes made by customers all over the world. In the chair or at-home hair care, here are the resolutions he wishes his customers would make for the year ahead.

1. 'I will seek consultation from professionals'

You may know what you want, but are you sure it’s going to suit you? Haircare professionals can tell you what will work best with your skin tone, hair texture and lifestyle.

2. 'I will tell my hairdresser when I’m not happy'

Massoud says it’s better to offer constructive criticism to work on in the future. Your hairdresser will learn, and you may discover how to communicate exactly what you want more effectively the next time.

3. ‘I will treat my hair better out of the chair’

Damage control is a big part of most hairstylists’ work right now, but it can be avoided. Steer clear of over-colouring at home, try and pursue one hair brand at a time and never, ever use a straightener on still drying hair, pleads Massoud.

Haircare resolutions 2021

From Beirut and Amman to London and now Dubai, hairstylist George Massoud has seen the same mistakes made by customers all over the world. In the chair or at-home hair care, here are the resolutions he wishes his customers would make for the year ahead.

1. 'I will seek consultation from professionals'

You may know what you want, but are you sure it’s going to suit you? Haircare professionals can tell you what will work best with your skin tone, hair texture and lifestyle.

2. 'I will tell my hairdresser when I’m not happy'

Massoud says it’s better to offer constructive criticism to work on in the future. Your hairdresser will learn, and you may discover how to communicate exactly what you want more effectively the next time.

3. ‘I will treat my hair better out of the chair’

Damage control is a big part of most hairstylists’ work right now, but it can be avoided. Steer clear of over-colouring at home, try and pursue one hair brand at a time and never, ever use a straightener on still drying hair, pleads Massoud.

Haircare resolutions 2021

From Beirut and Amman to London and now Dubai, hairstylist George Massoud has seen the same mistakes made by customers all over the world. In the chair or at-home hair care, here are the resolutions he wishes his customers would make for the year ahead.

1. 'I will seek consultation from professionals'

You may know what you want, but are you sure it’s going to suit you? Haircare professionals can tell you what will work best with your skin tone, hair texture and lifestyle.

2. 'I will tell my hairdresser when I’m not happy'

Massoud says it’s better to offer constructive criticism to work on in the future. Your hairdresser will learn, and you may discover how to communicate exactly what you want more effectively the next time.

3. ‘I will treat my hair better out of the chair’

Damage control is a big part of most hairstylists’ work right now, but it can be avoided. Steer clear of over-colouring at home, try and pursue one hair brand at a time and never, ever use a straightener on still drying hair, pleads Massoud.

Haircare resolutions 2021

From Beirut and Amman to London and now Dubai, hairstylist George Massoud has seen the same mistakes made by customers all over the world. In the chair or at-home hair care, here are the resolutions he wishes his customers would make for the year ahead.

1. 'I will seek consultation from professionals'

You may know what you want, but are you sure it’s going to suit you? Haircare professionals can tell you what will work best with your skin tone, hair texture and lifestyle.

2. 'I will tell my hairdresser when I’m not happy'

Massoud says it’s better to offer constructive criticism to work on in the future. Your hairdresser will learn, and you may discover how to communicate exactly what you want more effectively the next time.

3. ‘I will treat my hair better out of the chair’

Damage control is a big part of most hairstylists’ work right now, but it can be avoided. Steer clear of over-colouring at home, try and pursue one hair brand at a time and never, ever use a straightener on still drying hair, pleads Massoud.

Haircare resolutions 2021

From Beirut and Amman to London and now Dubai, hairstylist George Massoud has seen the same mistakes made by customers all over the world. In the chair or at-home hair care, here are the resolutions he wishes his customers would make for the year ahead.

1. 'I will seek consultation from professionals'

You may know what you want, but are you sure it’s going to suit you? Haircare professionals can tell you what will work best with your skin tone, hair texture and lifestyle.

2. 'I will tell my hairdresser when I’m not happy'

Massoud says it’s better to offer constructive criticism to work on in the future. Your hairdresser will learn, and you may discover how to communicate exactly what you want more effectively the next time.

3. ‘I will treat my hair better out of the chair’

Damage control is a big part of most hairstylists’ work right now, but it can be avoided. Steer clear of over-colouring at home, try and pursue one hair brand at a time and never, ever use a straightener on still drying hair, pleads Massoud.

Haircare resolutions 2021

From Beirut and Amman to London and now Dubai, hairstylist George Massoud has seen the same mistakes made by customers all over the world. In the chair or at-home hair care, here are the resolutions he wishes his customers would make for the year ahead.

1. 'I will seek consultation from professionals'

You may know what you want, but are you sure it’s going to suit you? Haircare professionals can tell you what will work best with your skin tone, hair texture and lifestyle.

2. 'I will tell my hairdresser when I’m not happy'

Massoud says it’s better to offer constructive criticism to work on in the future. Your hairdresser will learn, and you may discover how to communicate exactly what you want more effectively the next time.

3. ‘I will treat my hair better out of the chair’

Damage control is a big part of most hairstylists’ work right now, but it can be avoided. Steer clear of over-colouring at home, try and pursue one hair brand at a time and never, ever use a straightener on still drying hair, pleads Massoud.

Haircare resolutions 2021

From Beirut and Amman to London and now Dubai, hairstylist George Massoud has seen the same mistakes made by customers all over the world. In the chair or at-home hair care, here are the resolutions he wishes his customers would make for the year ahead.

1. 'I will seek consultation from professionals'

You may know what you want, but are you sure it’s going to suit you? Haircare professionals can tell you what will work best with your skin tone, hair texture and lifestyle.

2. 'I will tell my hairdresser when I’m not happy'

Massoud says it’s better to offer constructive criticism to work on in the future. Your hairdresser will learn, and you may discover how to communicate exactly what you want more effectively the next time.

3. ‘I will treat my hair better out of the chair’

Damage control is a big part of most hairstylists’ work right now, but it can be avoided. Steer clear of over-colouring at home, try and pursue one hair brand at a time and never, ever use a straightener on still drying hair, pleads Massoud.

Haircare resolutions 2021

From Beirut and Amman to London and now Dubai, hairstylist George Massoud has seen the same mistakes made by customers all over the world. In the chair or at-home hair care, here are the resolutions he wishes his customers would make for the year ahead.

1. 'I will seek consultation from professionals'

You may know what you want, but are you sure it’s going to suit you? Haircare professionals can tell you what will work best with your skin tone, hair texture and lifestyle.

2. 'I will tell my hairdresser when I’m not happy'

Massoud says it’s better to offer constructive criticism to work on in the future. Your hairdresser will learn, and you may discover how to communicate exactly what you want more effectively the next time.

3. ‘I will treat my hair better out of the chair’

Damage control is a big part of most hairstylists’ work right now, but it can be avoided. Steer clear of over-colouring at home, try and pursue one hair brand at a time and never, ever use a straightener on still drying hair, pleads Massoud.

Haircare resolutions 2021

From Beirut and Amman to London and now Dubai, hairstylist George Massoud has seen the same mistakes made by customers all over the world. In the chair or at-home hair care, here are the resolutions he wishes his customers would make for the year ahead.

1. 'I will seek consultation from professionals'

You may know what you want, but are you sure it’s going to suit you? Haircare professionals can tell you what will work best with your skin tone, hair texture and lifestyle.

2. 'I will tell my hairdresser when I’m not happy'

Massoud says it’s better to offer constructive criticism to work on in the future. Your hairdresser will learn, and you may discover how to communicate exactly what you want more effectively the next time.

3. ‘I will treat my hair better out of the chair’

Damage control is a big part of most hairstylists’ work right now, but it can be avoided. Steer clear of over-colouring at home, try and pursue one hair brand at a time and never, ever use a straightener on still drying hair, pleads Massoud.

Haircare resolutions 2021

From Beirut and Amman to London and now Dubai, hairstylist George Massoud has seen the same mistakes made by customers all over the world. In the chair or at-home hair care, here are the resolutions he wishes his customers would make for the year ahead.

1. 'I will seek consultation from professionals'

You may know what you want, but are you sure it’s going to suit you? Haircare professionals can tell you what will work best with your skin tone, hair texture and lifestyle.

2. 'I will tell my hairdresser when I’m not happy'

Massoud says it’s better to offer constructive criticism to work on in the future. Your hairdresser will learn, and you may discover how to communicate exactly what you want more effectively the next time.

3. ‘I will treat my hair better out of the chair’

Damage control is a big part of most hairstylists’ work right now, but it can be avoided. Steer clear of over-colouring at home, try and pursue one hair brand at a time and never, ever use a straightener on still drying hair, pleads Massoud.

Haircare resolutions 2021

From Beirut and Amman to London and now Dubai, hairstylist George Massoud has seen the same mistakes made by customers all over the world. In the chair or at-home hair care, here are the resolutions he wishes his customers would make for the year ahead.

1. 'I will seek consultation from professionals'

You may know what you want, but are you sure it’s going to suit you? Haircare professionals can tell you what will work best with your skin tone, hair texture and lifestyle.

2. 'I will tell my hairdresser when I’m not happy'

Massoud says it’s better to offer constructive criticism to work on in the future. Your hairdresser will learn, and you may discover how to communicate exactly what you want more effectively the next time.

3. ‘I will treat my hair better out of the chair’

Damage control is a big part of most hairstylists’ work right now, but it can be avoided. Steer clear of over-colouring at home, try and pursue one hair brand at a time and never, ever use a straightener on still drying hair, pleads Massoud.

Haircare resolutions 2021

From Beirut and Amman to London and now Dubai, hairstylist George Massoud has seen the same mistakes made by customers all over the world. In the chair or at-home hair care, here are the resolutions he wishes his customers would make for the year ahead.

1. 'I will seek consultation from professionals'

You may know what you want, but are you sure it’s going to suit you? Haircare professionals can tell you what will work best with your skin tone, hair texture and lifestyle.

2. 'I will tell my hairdresser when I’m not happy'

Massoud says it’s better to offer constructive criticism to work on in the future. Your hairdresser will learn, and you may discover how to communicate exactly what you want more effectively the next time.

3. ‘I will treat my hair better out of the chair’

Damage control is a big part of most hairstylists’ work right now, but it can be avoided. Steer clear of over-colouring at home, try and pursue one hair brand at a time and never, ever use a straightener on still drying hair, pleads Massoud.

Haircare resolutions 2021

From Beirut and Amman to London and now Dubai, hairstylist George Massoud has seen the same mistakes made by customers all over the world. In the chair or at-home hair care, here are the resolutions he wishes his customers would make for the year ahead.

1. 'I will seek consultation from professionals'

You may know what you want, but are you sure it’s going to suit you? Haircare professionals can tell you what will work best with your skin tone, hair texture and lifestyle.

2. 'I will tell my hairdresser when I’m not happy'

Massoud says it’s better to offer constructive criticism to work on in the future. Your hairdresser will learn, and you may discover how to communicate exactly what you want more effectively the next time.

3. ‘I will treat my hair better out of the chair’

Damage control is a big part of most hairstylists’ work right now, but it can be avoided. Steer clear of over-colouring at home, try and pursue one hair brand at a time and never, ever use a straightener on still drying hair, pleads Massoud.

Haircare resolutions 2021

From Beirut and Amman to London and now Dubai, hairstylist George Massoud has seen the same mistakes made by customers all over the world. In the chair or at-home hair care, here are the resolutions he wishes his customers would make for the year ahead.

1. 'I will seek consultation from professionals'

You may know what you want, but are you sure it’s going to suit you? Haircare professionals can tell you what will work best with your skin tone, hair texture and lifestyle.

2. 'I will tell my hairdresser when I’m not happy'

Massoud says it’s better to offer constructive criticism to work on in the future. Your hairdresser will learn, and you may discover how to communicate exactly what you want more effectively the next time.

3. ‘I will treat my hair better out of the chair’

Damage control is a big part of most hairstylists’ work right now, but it can be avoided. Steer clear of over-colouring at home, try and pursue one hair brand at a time and never, ever use a straightener on still drying hair, pleads Massoud.

Haircare resolutions 2021

From Beirut and Amman to London and now Dubai, hairstylist George Massoud has seen the same mistakes made by customers all over the world. In the chair or at-home hair care, here are the resolutions he wishes his customers would make for the year ahead.

1. 'I will seek consultation from professionals'

You may know what you want, but are you sure it’s going to suit you? Haircare professionals can tell you what will work best with your skin tone, hair texture and lifestyle.

2. 'I will tell my hairdresser when I’m not happy'

Massoud says it’s better to offer constructive criticism to work on in the future. Your hairdresser will learn, and you may discover how to communicate exactly what you want more effectively the next time.

3. ‘I will treat my hair better out of the chair’

Damage control is a big part of most hairstylists’ work right now, but it can be avoided. Steer clear of over-colouring at home, try and pursue one hair brand at a time and never, ever use a straightener on still drying hair, pleads Massoud.

What should do investors do now?

What does the S&P 500's new all-time high mean for the average investor? 

Should I be euphoric?

No. It's fine to be pleased about hearty returns on your investments. But it's not a good idea to tie your emotions closely to the ups and downs of the stock market. You'll get tired fast. This market moment comes on the heels of last year's nosedive. And it's not the first or last time the stock market will make a dramatic move.

So what happened?

It's more about what happened last year. Many of the concerns that triggered that plunge towards the end of last have largely been quelled. The US and China are slowly moving toward a trade agreement. The Federal Reserve has indicated it likely will not raise rates at all in 2019 after seven recent increases. And those changes, along with some strong earnings reports and broader healthy economic indicators, have fueled some optimism in stock markets.

"The panic in the fourth quarter was based mostly on fears," says Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company. "The fundamentals have mostly held up, while the fears have gone away and the fears were based mostly on emotion."

Should I buy? Should I sell?

Maybe. It depends on what your long-term investment plan is. The best advice is usually the same no matter the day — determine your financial goals, make a plan to reach them and stick to it.

"I would encourage (investors) not to overreact to highs, just as I would encourage them not to overreact to the lows of December," Mr Schutte says.

All the same, there are some situations in which you should consider taking action. If you think you can't live through another low like last year, the time to get out is now. If the balance of assets in your portfolio is out of whack thanks to the rise of the stock market, make adjustments. And if you need your money in the next five to 10 years, it shouldn't be in stocks anyhow. But for most people, it's also a good time to just leave things be.

Resist the urge to abandon the diversification of your portfolio, Mr Schutte cautions. It may be tempting to shed other investments that aren't performing as well, such as some international stocks, but diversification is designed to help steady your performance over time.

Will the rally last?

No one knows for sure. But David Bailin, chief investment officer at Citi Private Bank, expects the US market could move up 5 per cent to 7 per cent more over the next nine to 12 months, provided the Fed doesn't raise rates and earnings growth exceeds current expectations. We are in a late cycle market, a period when US equities have historically done very well, but volatility also rises, he says.

"This phase can last six months to several years, but it's important clients remain invested and not try to prematurely position for a contraction of the market," Mr Bailin says. "Doing so would risk missing out on important portfolio returns."

What should do investors do now?

What does the S&P 500's new all-time high mean for the average investor? 

Should I be euphoric?

No. It's fine to be pleased about hearty returns on your investments. But it's not a good idea to tie your emotions closely to the ups and downs of the stock market. You'll get tired fast. This market moment comes on the heels of last year's nosedive. And it's not the first or last time the stock market will make a dramatic move.

So what happened?

It's more about what happened last year. Many of the concerns that triggered that plunge towards the end of last have largely been quelled. The US and China are slowly moving toward a trade agreement. The Federal Reserve has indicated it likely will not raise rates at all in 2019 after seven recent increases. And those changes, along with some strong earnings reports and broader healthy economic indicators, have fueled some optimism in stock markets.

"The panic in the fourth quarter was based mostly on fears," says Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company. "The fundamentals have mostly held up, while the fears have gone away and the fears were based mostly on emotion."

Should I buy? Should I sell?

Maybe. It depends on what your long-term investment plan is. The best advice is usually the same no matter the day — determine your financial goals, make a plan to reach them and stick to it.

"I would encourage (investors) not to overreact to highs, just as I would encourage them not to overreact to the lows of December," Mr Schutte says.

All the same, there are some situations in which you should consider taking action. If you think you can't live through another low like last year, the time to get out is now. If the balance of assets in your portfolio is out of whack thanks to the rise of the stock market, make adjustments. And if you need your money in the next five to 10 years, it shouldn't be in stocks anyhow. But for most people, it's also a good time to just leave things be.

Resist the urge to abandon the diversification of your portfolio, Mr Schutte cautions. It may be tempting to shed other investments that aren't performing as well, such as some international stocks, but diversification is designed to help steady your performance over time.

Will the rally last?

No one knows for sure. But David Bailin, chief investment officer at Citi Private Bank, expects the US market could move up 5 per cent to 7 per cent more over the next nine to 12 months, provided the Fed doesn't raise rates and earnings growth exceeds current expectations. We are in a late cycle market, a period when US equities have historically done very well, but volatility also rises, he says.

"This phase can last six months to several years, but it's important clients remain invested and not try to prematurely position for a contraction of the market," Mr Bailin says. "Doing so would risk missing out on important portfolio returns."

What should do investors do now?

What does the S&P 500's new all-time high mean for the average investor? 

Should I be euphoric?

No. It's fine to be pleased about hearty returns on your investments. But it's not a good idea to tie your emotions closely to the ups and downs of the stock market. You'll get tired fast. This market moment comes on the heels of last year's nosedive. And it's not the first or last time the stock market will make a dramatic move.

So what happened?

It's more about what happened last year. Many of the concerns that triggered that plunge towards the end of last have largely been quelled. The US and China are slowly moving toward a trade agreement. The Federal Reserve has indicated it likely will not raise rates at all in 2019 after seven recent increases. And those changes, along with some strong earnings reports and broader healthy economic indicators, have fueled some optimism in stock markets.

"The panic in the fourth quarter was based mostly on fears," says Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company. "The fundamentals have mostly held up, while the fears have gone away and the fears were based mostly on emotion."

Should I buy? Should I sell?

Maybe. It depends on what your long-term investment plan is. The best advice is usually the same no matter the day — determine your financial goals, make a plan to reach them and stick to it.

"I would encourage (investors) not to overreact to highs, just as I would encourage them not to overreact to the lows of December," Mr Schutte says.

All the same, there are some situations in which you should consider taking action. If you think you can't live through another low like last year, the time to get out is now. If the balance of assets in your portfolio is out of whack thanks to the rise of the stock market, make adjustments. And if you need your money in the next five to 10 years, it shouldn't be in stocks anyhow. But for most people, it's also a good time to just leave things be.

Resist the urge to abandon the diversification of your portfolio, Mr Schutte cautions. It may be tempting to shed other investments that aren't performing as well, such as some international stocks, but diversification is designed to help steady your performance over time.

Will the rally last?

No one knows for sure. But David Bailin, chief investment officer at Citi Private Bank, expects the US market could move up 5 per cent to 7 per cent more over the next nine to 12 months, provided the Fed doesn't raise rates and earnings growth exceeds current expectations. We are in a late cycle market, a period when US equities have historically done very well, but volatility also rises, he says.

"This phase can last six months to several years, but it's important clients remain invested and not try to prematurely position for a contraction of the market," Mr Bailin says. "Doing so would risk missing out on important portfolio returns."

What should do investors do now?

What does the S&P 500's new all-time high mean for the average investor? 

Should I be euphoric?

No. It's fine to be pleased about hearty returns on your investments. But it's not a good idea to tie your emotions closely to the ups and downs of the stock market. You'll get tired fast. This market moment comes on the heels of last year's nosedive. And it's not the first or last time the stock market will make a dramatic move.

So what happened?

It's more about what happened last year. Many of the concerns that triggered that plunge towards the end of last have largely been quelled. The US and China are slowly moving toward a trade agreement. The Federal Reserve has indicated it likely will not raise rates at all in 2019 after seven recent increases. And those changes, along with some strong earnings reports and broader healthy economic indicators, have fueled some optimism in stock markets.

"The panic in the fourth quarter was based mostly on fears," says Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company. "The fundamentals have mostly held up, while the fears have gone away and the fears were based mostly on emotion."

Should I buy? Should I sell?

Maybe. It depends on what your long-term investment plan is. The best advice is usually the same no matter the day — determine your financial goals, make a plan to reach them and stick to it.

"I would encourage (investors) not to overreact to highs, just as I would encourage them not to overreact to the lows of December," Mr Schutte says.

All the same, there are some situations in which you should consider taking action. If you think you can't live through another low like last year, the time to get out is now. If the balance of assets in your portfolio is out of whack thanks to the rise of the stock market, make adjustments. And if you need your money in the next five to 10 years, it shouldn't be in stocks anyhow. But for most people, it's also a good time to just leave things be.

Resist the urge to abandon the diversification of your portfolio, Mr Schutte cautions. It may be tempting to shed other investments that aren't performing as well, such as some international stocks, but diversification is designed to help steady your performance over time.

Will the rally last?

No one knows for sure. But David Bailin, chief investment officer at Citi Private Bank, expects the US market could move up 5 per cent to 7 per cent more over the next nine to 12 months, provided the Fed doesn't raise rates and earnings growth exceeds current expectations. We are in a late cycle market, a period when US equities have historically done very well, but volatility also rises, he says.

"This phase can last six months to several years, but it's important clients remain invested and not try to prematurely position for a contraction of the market," Mr Bailin says. "Doing so would risk missing out on important portfolio returns."

What should do investors do now?

What does the S&P 500's new all-time high mean for the average investor? 

Should I be euphoric?

No. It's fine to be pleased about hearty returns on your investments. But it's not a good idea to tie your emotions closely to the ups and downs of the stock market. You'll get tired fast. This market moment comes on the heels of last year's nosedive. And it's not the first or last time the stock market will make a dramatic move.

So what happened?

It's more about what happened last year. Many of the concerns that triggered that plunge towards the end of last have largely been quelled. The US and China are slowly moving toward a trade agreement. The Federal Reserve has indicated it likely will not raise rates at all in 2019 after seven recent increases. And those changes, along with some strong earnings reports and broader healthy economic indicators, have fueled some optimism in stock markets.

"The panic in the fourth quarter was based mostly on fears," says Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company. "The fundamentals have mostly held up, while the fears have gone away and the fears were based mostly on emotion."

Should I buy? Should I sell?

Maybe. It depends on what your long-term investment plan is. The best advice is usually the same no matter the day — determine your financial goals, make a plan to reach them and stick to it.

"I would encourage (investors) not to overreact to highs, just as I would encourage them not to overreact to the lows of December," Mr Schutte says.

All the same, there are some situations in which you should consider taking action. If you think you can't live through another low like last year, the time to get out is now. If the balance of assets in your portfolio is out of whack thanks to the rise of the stock market, make adjustments. And if you need your money in the next five to 10 years, it shouldn't be in stocks anyhow. But for most people, it's also a good time to just leave things be.

Resist the urge to abandon the diversification of your portfolio, Mr Schutte cautions. It may be tempting to shed other investments that aren't performing as well, such as some international stocks, but diversification is designed to help steady your performance over time.

Will the rally last?

No one knows for sure. But David Bailin, chief investment officer at Citi Private Bank, expects the US market could move up 5 per cent to 7 per cent more over the next nine to 12 months, provided the Fed doesn't raise rates and earnings growth exceeds current expectations. We are in a late cycle market, a period when US equities have historically done very well, but volatility also rises, he says.

"This phase can last six months to several years, but it's important clients remain invested and not try to prematurely position for a contraction of the market," Mr Bailin says. "Doing so would risk missing out on important portfolio returns."

What should do investors do now?

What does the S&P 500's new all-time high mean for the average investor? 

Should I be euphoric?

No. It's fine to be pleased about hearty returns on your investments. But it's not a good idea to tie your emotions closely to the ups and downs of the stock market. You'll get tired fast. This market moment comes on the heels of last year's nosedive. And it's not the first or last time the stock market will make a dramatic move.

So what happened?

It's more about what happened last year. Many of the concerns that triggered that plunge towards the end of last have largely been quelled. The US and China are slowly moving toward a trade agreement. The Federal Reserve has indicated it likely will not raise rates at all in 2019 after seven recent increases. And those changes, along with some strong earnings reports and broader healthy economic indicators, have fueled some optimism in stock markets.

"The panic in the fourth quarter was based mostly on fears," says Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company. "The fundamentals have mostly held up, while the fears have gone away and the fears were based mostly on emotion."

Should I buy? Should I sell?

Maybe. It depends on what your long-term investment plan is. The best advice is usually the same no matter the day — determine your financial goals, make a plan to reach them and stick to it.

"I would encourage (investors) not to overreact to highs, just as I would encourage them not to overreact to the lows of December," Mr Schutte says.

All the same, there are some situations in which you should consider taking action. If you think you can't live through another low like last year, the time to get out is now. If the balance of assets in your portfolio is out of whack thanks to the rise of the stock market, make adjustments. And if you need your money in the next five to 10 years, it shouldn't be in stocks anyhow. But for most people, it's also a good time to just leave things be.

Resist the urge to abandon the diversification of your portfolio, Mr Schutte cautions. It may be tempting to shed other investments that aren't performing as well, such as some international stocks, but diversification is designed to help steady your performance over time.

Will the rally last?

No one knows for sure. But David Bailin, chief investment officer at Citi Private Bank, expects the US market could move up 5 per cent to 7 per cent more over the next nine to 12 months, provided the Fed doesn't raise rates and earnings growth exceeds current expectations. We are in a late cycle market, a period when US equities have historically done very well, but volatility also rises, he says.

"This phase can last six months to several years, but it's important clients remain invested and not try to prematurely position for a contraction of the market," Mr Bailin says. "Doing so would risk missing out on important portfolio returns."

What should do investors do now?

What does the S&P 500's new all-time high mean for the average investor? 

Should I be euphoric?

No. It's fine to be pleased about hearty returns on your investments. But it's not a good idea to tie your emotions closely to the ups and downs of the stock market. You'll get tired fast. This market moment comes on the heels of last year's nosedive. And it's not the first or last time the stock market will make a dramatic move.

So what happened?

It's more about what happened last year. Many of the concerns that triggered that plunge towards the end of last have largely been quelled. The US and China are slowly moving toward a trade agreement. The Federal Reserve has indicated it likely will not raise rates at all in 2019 after seven recent increases. And those changes, along with some strong earnings reports and broader healthy economic indicators, have fueled some optimism in stock markets.

"The panic in the fourth quarter was based mostly on fears," says Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company. "The fundamentals have mostly held up, while the fears have gone away and the fears were based mostly on emotion."

Should I buy? Should I sell?

Maybe. It depends on what your long-term investment plan is. The best advice is usually the same no matter the day — determine your financial goals, make a plan to reach them and stick to it.

"I would encourage (investors) not to overreact to highs, just as I would encourage them not to overreact to the lows of December," Mr Schutte says.

All the same, there are some situations in which you should consider taking action. If you think you can't live through another low like last year, the time to get out is now. If the balance of assets in your portfolio is out of whack thanks to the rise of the stock market, make adjustments. And if you need your money in the next five to 10 years, it shouldn't be in stocks anyhow. But for most people, it's also a good time to just leave things be.

Resist the urge to abandon the diversification of your portfolio, Mr Schutte cautions. It may be tempting to shed other investments that aren't performing as well, such as some international stocks, but diversification is designed to help steady your performance over time.

Will the rally last?

No one knows for sure. But David Bailin, chief investment officer at Citi Private Bank, expects the US market could move up 5 per cent to 7 per cent more over the next nine to 12 months, provided the Fed doesn't raise rates and earnings growth exceeds current expectations. We are in a late cycle market, a period when US equities have historically done very well, but volatility also rises, he says.

"This phase can last six months to several years, but it's important clients remain invested and not try to prematurely position for a contraction of the market," Mr Bailin says. "Doing so would risk missing out on important portfolio returns."

What should do investors do now?

What does the S&P 500's new all-time high mean for the average investor? 

Should I be euphoric?

No. It's fine to be pleased about hearty returns on your investments. But it's not a good idea to tie your emotions closely to the ups and downs of the stock market. You'll get tired fast. This market moment comes on the heels of last year's nosedive. And it's not the first or last time the stock market will make a dramatic move.

So what happened?

It's more about what happened last year. Many of the concerns that triggered that plunge towards the end of last have largely been quelled. The US and China are slowly moving toward a trade agreement. The Federal Reserve has indicated it likely will not raise rates at all in 2019 after seven recent increases. And those changes, along with some strong earnings reports and broader healthy economic indicators, have fueled some optimism in stock markets.

"The panic in the fourth quarter was based mostly on fears," says Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company. "The fundamentals have mostly held up, while the fears have gone away and the fears were based mostly on emotion."

Should I buy? Should I sell?

Maybe. It depends on what your long-term investment plan is. The best advice is usually the same no matter the day — determine your financial goals, make a plan to reach them and stick to it.

"I would encourage (investors) not to overreact to highs, just as I would encourage them not to overreact to the lows of December," Mr Schutte says.

All the same, there are some situations in which you should consider taking action. If you think you can't live through another low like last year, the time to get out is now. If the balance of assets in your portfolio is out of whack thanks to the rise of the stock market, make adjustments. And if you need your money in the next five to 10 years, it shouldn't be in stocks anyhow. But for most people, it's also a good time to just leave things be.

Resist the urge to abandon the diversification of your portfolio, Mr Schutte cautions. It may be tempting to shed other investments that aren't performing as well, such as some international stocks, but diversification is designed to help steady your performance over time.

Will the rally last?

No one knows for sure. But David Bailin, chief investment officer at Citi Private Bank, expects the US market could move up 5 per cent to 7 per cent more over the next nine to 12 months, provided the Fed doesn't raise rates and earnings growth exceeds current expectations. We are in a late cycle market, a period when US equities have historically done very well, but volatility also rises, he says.

"This phase can last six months to several years, but it's important clients remain invested and not try to prematurely position for a contraction of the market," Mr Bailin says. "Doing so would risk missing out on important portfolio returns."

What should do investors do now?

What does the S&P 500's new all-time high mean for the average investor? 

Should I be euphoric?

No. It's fine to be pleased about hearty returns on your investments. But it's not a good idea to tie your emotions closely to the ups and downs of the stock market. You'll get tired fast. This market moment comes on the heels of last year's nosedive. And it's not the first or last time the stock market will make a dramatic move.

So what happened?

It's more about what happened last year. Many of the concerns that triggered that plunge towards the end of last have largely been quelled. The US and China are slowly moving toward a trade agreement. The Federal Reserve has indicated it likely will not raise rates at all in 2019 after seven recent increases. And those changes, along with some strong earnings reports and broader healthy economic indicators, have fueled some optimism in stock markets.

"The panic in the fourth quarter was based mostly on fears," says Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company. "The fundamentals have mostly held up, while the fears have gone away and the fears were based mostly on emotion."

Should I buy? Should I sell?

Maybe. It depends on what your long-term investment plan is. The best advice is usually the same no matter the day — determine your financial goals, make a plan to reach them and stick to it.

"I would encourage (investors) not to overreact to highs, just as I would encourage them not to overreact to the lows of December," Mr Schutte says.

All the same, there are some situations in which you should consider taking action. If you think you can't live through another low like last year, the time to get out is now. If the balance of assets in your portfolio is out of whack thanks to the rise of the stock market, make adjustments. And if you need your money in the next five to 10 years, it shouldn't be in stocks anyhow. But for most people, it's also a good time to just leave things be.

Resist the urge to abandon the diversification of your portfolio, Mr Schutte cautions. It may be tempting to shed other investments that aren't performing as well, such as some international stocks, but diversification is designed to help steady your performance over time.

Will the rally last?

No one knows for sure. But David Bailin, chief investment officer at Citi Private Bank, expects the US market could move up 5 per cent to 7 per cent more over the next nine to 12 months, provided the Fed doesn't raise rates and earnings growth exceeds current expectations. We are in a late cycle market, a period when US equities have historically done very well, but volatility also rises, he says.

"This phase can last six months to several years, but it's important clients remain invested and not try to prematurely position for a contraction of the market," Mr Bailin says. "Doing so would risk missing out on important portfolio returns."

What should do investors do now?

What does the S&P 500's new all-time high mean for the average investor? 

Should I be euphoric?

No. It's fine to be pleased about hearty returns on your investments. But it's not a good idea to tie your emotions closely to the ups and downs of the stock market. You'll get tired fast. This market moment comes on the heels of last year's nosedive. And it's not the first or last time the stock market will make a dramatic move.

So what happened?

It's more about what happened last year. Many of the concerns that triggered that plunge towards the end of last have largely been quelled. The US and China are slowly moving toward a trade agreement. The Federal Reserve has indicated it likely will not raise rates at all in 2019 after seven recent increases. And those changes, along with some strong earnings reports and broader healthy economic indicators, have fueled some optimism in stock markets.

"The panic in the fourth quarter was based mostly on fears," says Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company. "The fundamentals have mostly held up, while the fears have gone away and the fears were based mostly on emotion."

Should I buy? Should I sell?

Maybe. It depends on what your long-term investment plan is. The best advice is usually the same no matter the day — determine your financial goals, make a plan to reach them and stick to it.

"I would encourage (investors) not to overreact to highs, just as I would encourage them not to overreact to the lows of December," Mr Schutte says.

All the same, there are some situations in which you should consider taking action. If you think you can't live through another low like last year, the time to get out is now. If the balance of assets in your portfolio is out of whack thanks to the rise of the stock market, make adjustments. And if you need your money in the next five to 10 years, it shouldn't be in stocks anyhow. But for most people, it's also a good time to just leave things be.

Resist the urge to abandon the diversification of your portfolio, Mr Schutte cautions. It may be tempting to shed other investments that aren't performing as well, such as some international stocks, but diversification is designed to help steady your performance over time.

Will the rally last?

No one knows for sure. But David Bailin, chief investment officer at Citi Private Bank, expects the US market could move up 5 per cent to 7 per cent more over the next nine to 12 months, provided the Fed doesn't raise rates and earnings growth exceeds current expectations. We are in a late cycle market, a period when US equities have historically done very well, but volatility also rises, he says.

"This phase can last six months to several years, but it's important clients remain invested and not try to prematurely position for a contraction of the market," Mr Bailin says. "Doing so would risk missing out on important portfolio returns."

What should do investors do now?

What does the S&P 500's new all-time high mean for the average investor? 

Should I be euphoric?

No. It's fine to be pleased about hearty returns on your investments. But it's not a good idea to tie your emotions closely to the ups and downs of the stock market. You'll get tired fast. This market moment comes on the heels of last year's nosedive. And it's not the first or last time the stock market will make a dramatic move.

So what happened?

It's more about what happened last year. Many of the concerns that triggered that plunge towards the end of last have largely been quelled. The US and China are slowly moving toward a trade agreement. The Federal Reserve has indicated it likely will not raise rates at all in 2019 after seven recent increases. And those changes, along with some strong earnings reports and broader healthy economic indicators, have fueled some optimism in stock markets.

"The panic in the fourth quarter was based mostly on fears," says Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company. "The fundamentals have mostly held up, while the fears have gone away and the fears were based mostly on emotion."

Should I buy? Should I sell?

Maybe. It depends on what your long-term investment plan is. The best advice is usually the same no matter the day — determine your financial goals, make a plan to reach them and stick to it.

"I would encourage (investors) not to overreact to highs, just as I would encourage them not to overreact to the lows of December," Mr Schutte says.

All the same, there are some situations in which you should consider taking action. If you think you can't live through another low like last year, the time to get out is now. If the balance of assets in your portfolio is out of whack thanks to the rise of the stock market, make adjustments. And if you need your money in the next five to 10 years, it shouldn't be in stocks anyhow. But for most people, it's also a good time to just leave things be.

Resist the urge to abandon the diversification of your portfolio, Mr Schutte cautions. It may be tempting to shed other investments that aren't performing as well, such as some international stocks, but diversification is designed to help steady your performance over time.

Will the rally last?

No one knows for sure. But David Bailin, chief investment officer at Citi Private Bank, expects the US market could move up 5 per cent to 7 per cent more over the next nine to 12 months, provided the Fed doesn't raise rates and earnings growth exceeds current expectations. We are in a late cycle market, a period when US equities have historically done very well, but volatility also rises, he says.

"This phase can last six months to several years, but it's important clients remain invested and not try to prematurely position for a contraction of the market," Mr Bailin says. "Doing so would risk missing out on important portfolio returns."

What should do investors do now?

What does the S&P 500's new all-time high mean for the average investor? 

Should I be euphoric?

No. It's fine to be pleased about hearty returns on your investments. But it's not a good idea to tie your emotions closely to the ups and downs of the stock market. You'll get tired fast. This market moment comes on the heels of last year's nosedive. And it's not the first or last time the stock market will make a dramatic move.

So what happened?

It's more about what happened last year. Many of the concerns that triggered that plunge towards the end of last have largely been quelled. The US and China are slowly moving toward a trade agreement. The Federal Reserve has indicated it likely will not raise rates at all in 2019 after seven recent increases. And those changes, along with some strong earnings reports and broader healthy economic indicators, have fueled some optimism in stock markets.

"The panic in the fourth quarter was based mostly on fears," says Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company. "The fundamentals have mostly held up, while the fears have gone away and the fears were based mostly on emotion."

Should I buy? Should I sell?

Maybe. It depends on what your long-term investment plan is. The best advice is usually the same no matter the day — determine your financial goals, make a plan to reach them and stick to it.

"I would encourage (investors) not to overreact to highs, just as I would encourage them not to overreact to the lows of December," Mr Schutte says.

All the same, there are some situations in which you should consider taking action. If you think you can't live through another low like last year, the time to get out is now. If the balance of assets in your portfolio is out of whack thanks to the rise of the stock market, make adjustments. And if you need your money in the next five to 10 years, it shouldn't be in stocks anyhow. But for most people, it's also a good time to just leave things be.

Resist the urge to abandon the diversification of your portfolio, Mr Schutte cautions. It may be tempting to shed other investments that aren't performing as well, such as some international stocks, but diversification is designed to help steady your performance over time.

Will the rally last?

No one knows for sure. But David Bailin, chief investment officer at Citi Private Bank, expects the US market could move up 5 per cent to 7 per cent more over the next nine to 12 months, provided the Fed doesn't raise rates and earnings growth exceeds current expectations. We are in a late cycle market, a period when US equities have historically done very well, but volatility also rises, he says.

"This phase can last six months to several years, but it's important clients remain invested and not try to prematurely position for a contraction of the market," Mr Bailin says. "Doing so would risk missing out on important portfolio returns."

What should do investors do now?

What does the S&P 500's new all-time high mean for the average investor? 

Should I be euphoric?

No. It's fine to be pleased about hearty returns on your investments. But it's not a good idea to tie your emotions closely to the ups and downs of the stock market. You'll get tired fast. This market moment comes on the heels of last year's nosedive. And it's not the first or last time the stock market will make a dramatic move.

So what happened?

It's more about what happened last year. Many of the concerns that triggered that plunge towards the end of last have largely been quelled. The US and China are slowly moving toward a trade agreement. The Federal Reserve has indicated it likely will not raise rates at all in 2019 after seven recent increases. And those changes, along with some strong earnings reports and broader healthy economic indicators, have fueled some optimism in stock markets.

"The panic in the fourth quarter was based mostly on fears," says Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company. "The fundamentals have mostly held up, while the fears have gone away and the fears were based mostly on emotion."

Should I buy? Should I sell?

Maybe. It depends on what your long-term investment plan is. The best advice is usually the same no matter the day — determine your financial goals, make a plan to reach them and stick to it.

"I would encourage (investors) not to overreact to highs, just as I would encourage them not to overreact to the lows of December," Mr Schutte says.

All the same, there are some situations in which you should consider taking action. If you think you can't live through another low like last year, the time to get out is now. If the balance of assets in your portfolio is out of whack thanks to the rise of the stock market, make adjustments. And if you need your money in the next five to 10 years, it shouldn't be in stocks anyhow. But for most people, it's also a good time to just leave things be.

Resist the urge to abandon the diversification of your portfolio, Mr Schutte cautions. It may be tempting to shed other investments that aren't performing as well, such as some international stocks, but diversification is designed to help steady your performance over time.

Will the rally last?

No one knows for sure. But David Bailin, chief investment officer at Citi Private Bank, expects the US market could move up 5 per cent to 7 per cent more over the next nine to 12 months, provided the Fed doesn't raise rates and earnings growth exceeds current expectations. We are in a late cycle market, a period when US equities have historically done very well, but volatility also rises, he says.

"This phase can last six months to several years, but it's important clients remain invested and not try to prematurely position for a contraction of the market," Mr Bailin says. "Doing so would risk missing out on important portfolio returns."

What should do investors do now?

What does the S&P 500's new all-time high mean for the average investor? 

Should I be euphoric?

No. It's fine to be pleased about hearty returns on your investments. But it's not a good idea to tie your emotions closely to the ups and downs of the stock market. You'll get tired fast. This market moment comes on the heels of last year's nosedive. And it's not the first or last time the stock market will make a dramatic move.

So what happened?

It's more about what happened last year. Many of the concerns that triggered that plunge towards the end of last have largely been quelled. The US and China are slowly moving toward a trade agreement. The Federal Reserve has indicated it likely will not raise rates at all in 2019 after seven recent increases. And those changes, along with some strong earnings reports and broader healthy economic indicators, have fueled some optimism in stock markets.

"The panic in the fourth quarter was based mostly on fears," says Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company. "The fundamentals have mostly held up, while the fears have gone away and the fears were based mostly on emotion."

Should I buy? Should I sell?

Maybe. It depends on what your long-term investment plan is. The best advice is usually the same no matter the day — determine your financial goals, make a plan to reach them and stick to it.

"I would encourage (investors) not to overreact to highs, just as I would encourage them not to overreact to the lows of December," Mr Schutte says.

All the same, there are some situations in which you should consider taking action. If you think you can't live through another low like last year, the time to get out is now. If the balance of assets in your portfolio is out of whack thanks to the rise of the stock market, make adjustments. And if you need your money in the next five to 10 years, it shouldn't be in stocks anyhow. But for most people, it's also a good time to just leave things be.

Resist the urge to abandon the diversification of your portfolio, Mr Schutte cautions. It may be tempting to shed other investments that aren't performing as well, such as some international stocks, but diversification is designed to help steady your performance over time.

Will the rally last?

No one knows for sure. But David Bailin, chief investment officer at Citi Private Bank, expects the US market could move up 5 per cent to 7 per cent more over the next nine to 12 months, provided the Fed doesn't raise rates and earnings growth exceeds current expectations. We are in a late cycle market, a period when US equities have historically done very well, but volatility also rises, he says.

"This phase can last six months to several years, but it's important clients remain invested and not try to prematurely position for a contraction of the market," Mr Bailin says. "Doing so would risk missing out on important portfolio returns."

What should do investors do now?

What does the S&P 500's new all-time high mean for the average investor? 

Should I be euphoric?

No. It's fine to be pleased about hearty returns on your investments. But it's not a good idea to tie your emotions closely to the ups and downs of the stock market. You'll get tired fast. This market moment comes on the heels of last year's nosedive. And it's not the first or last time the stock market will make a dramatic move.

So what happened?

It's more about what happened last year. Many of the concerns that triggered that plunge towards the end of last have largely been quelled. The US and China are slowly moving toward a trade agreement. The Federal Reserve has indicated it likely will not raise rates at all in 2019 after seven recent increases. And those changes, along with some strong earnings reports and broader healthy economic indicators, have fueled some optimism in stock markets.

"The panic in the fourth quarter was based mostly on fears," says Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company. "The fundamentals have mostly held up, while the fears have gone away and the fears were based mostly on emotion."

Should I buy? Should I sell?

Maybe. It depends on what your long-term investment plan is. The best advice is usually the same no matter the day — determine your financial goals, make a plan to reach them and stick to it.

"I would encourage (investors) not to overreact to highs, just as I would encourage them not to overreact to the lows of December," Mr Schutte says.

All the same, there are some situations in which you should consider taking action. If you think you can't live through another low like last year, the time to get out is now. If the balance of assets in your portfolio is out of whack thanks to the rise of the stock market, make adjustments. And if you need your money in the next five to 10 years, it shouldn't be in stocks anyhow. But for most people, it's also a good time to just leave things be.

Resist the urge to abandon the diversification of your portfolio, Mr Schutte cautions. It may be tempting to shed other investments that aren't performing as well, such as some international stocks, but diversification is designed to help steady your performance over time.

Will the rally last?

No one knows for sure. But David Bailin, chief investment officer at Citi Private Bank, expects the US market could move up 5 per cent to 7 per cent more over the next nine to 12 months, provided the Fed doesn't raise rates and earnings growth exceeds current expectations. We are in a late cycle market, a period when US equities have historically done very well, but volatility also rises, he says.

"This phase can last six months to several years, but it's important clients remain invested and not try to prematurely position for a contraction of the market," Mr Bailin says. "Doing so would risk missing out on important portfolio returns."

What should do investors do now?

What does the S&P 500's new all-time high mean for the average investor? 

Should I be euphoric?

No. It's fine to be pleased about hearty returns on your investments. But it's not a good idea to tie your emotions closely to the ups and downs of the stock market. You'll get tired fast. This market moment comes on the heels of last year's nosedive. And it's not the first or last time the stock market will make a dramatic move.

So what happened?

It's more about what happened last year. Many of the concerns that triggered that plunge towards the end of last have largely been quelled. The US and China are slowly moving toward a trade agreement. The Federal Reserve has indicated it likely will not raise rates at all in 2019 after seven recent increases. And those changes, along with some strong earnings reports and broader healthy economic indicators, have fueled some optimism in stock markets.

"The panic in the fourth quarter was based mostly on fears," says Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company. "The fundamentals have mostly held up, while the fears have gone away and the fears were based mostly on emotion."

Should I buy? Should I sell?

Maybe. It depends on what your long-term investment plan is. The best advice is usually the same no matter the day — determine your financial goals, make a plan to reach them and stick to it.

"I would encourage (investors) not to overreact to highs, just as I would encourage them not to overreact to the lows of December," Mr Schutte says.

All the same, there are some situations in which you should consider taking action. If you think you can't live through another low like last year, the time to get out is now. If the balance of assets in your portfolio is out of whack thanks to the rise of the stock market, make adjustments. And if you need your money in the next five to 10 years, it shouldn't be in stocks anyhow. But for most people, it's also a good time to just leave things be.

Resist the urge to abandon the diversification of your portfolio, Mr Schutte cautions. It may be tempting to shed other investments that aren't performing as well, such as some international stocks, but diversification is designed to help steady your performance over time.

Will the rally last?

No one knows for sure. But David Bailin, chief investment officer at Citi Private Bank, expects the US market could move up 5 per cent to 7 per cent more over the next nine to 12 months, provided the Fed doesn't raise rates and earnings growth exceeds current expectations. We are in a late cycle market, a period when US equities have historically done very well, but volatility also rises, he says.

"This phase can last six months to several years, but it's important clients remain invested and not try to prematurely position for a contraction of the market," Mr Bailin says. "Doing so would risk missing out on important portfolio returns."

What are NFTs?

Are non-fungible tokens a currency, asset, or a licensing instrument? Arnab Das, global market strategist EMEA at Invesco, says they are mix of all of three.

You can buy, hold and use NFTs just like US dollars and Bitcoins. “They can appreciate in value and even produce cash flows.”

However, while money is fungible, NFTs are not. “One Bitcoin, dollar, euro or dirham is largely indistinguishable from the next. Nothing ties a dollar bill to a particular owner, for example. Nor does it tie you to to any goods, services or assets you bought with that currency. In contrast, NFTs confer specific ownership,” Mr Das says.

This makes NFTs closer to a piece of intellectual property such as a work of art or licence, as you can claim royalties or profit by exchanging it at a higher value later, Mr Das says. “They could provide a sustainable income stream.”

This income will depend on future demand and use, which makes NFTs difficult to value. “However, there is a credible use case for many forms of intellectual property, notably art, songs, videos,” Mr Das says.

What are NFTs?

Are non-fungible tokens a currency, asset, or a licensing instrument? Arnab Das, global market strategist EMEA at Invesco, says they are mix of all of three.

You can buy, hold and use NFTs just like US dollars and Bitcoins. “They can appreciate in value and even produce cash flows.”

However, while money is fungible, NFTs are not. “One Bitcoin, dollar, euro or dirham is largely indistinguishable from the next. Nothing ties a dollar bill to a particular owner, for example. Nor does it tie you to to any goods, services or assets you bought with that currency. In contrast, NFTs confer specific ownership,” Mr Das says.

This makes NFTs closer to a piece of intellectual property such as a work of art or licence, as you can claim royalties or profit by exchanging it at a higher value later, Mr Das says. “They could provide a sustainable income stream.”

This income will depend on future demand and use, which makes NFTs difficult to value. “However, there is a credible use case for many forms of intellectual property, notably art, songs, videos,” Mr Das says.

What are NFTs?

Are non-fungible tokens a currency, asset, or a licensing instrument? Arnab Das, global market strategist EMEA at Invesco, says they are mix of all of three.

You can buy, hold and use NFTs just like US dollars and Bitcoins. “They can appreciate in value and even produce cash flows.”

However, while money is fungible, NFTs are not. “One Bitcoin, dollar, euro or dirham is largely indistinguishable from the next. Nothing ties a dollar bill to a particular owner, for example. Nor does it tie you to to any goods, services or assets you bought with that currency. In contrast, NFTs confer specific ownership,” Mr Das says.

This makes NFTs closer to a piece of intellectual property such as a work of art or licence, as you can claim royalties or profit by exchanging it at a higher value later, Mr Das says. “They could provide a sustainable income stream.”

This income will depend on future demand and use, which makes NFTs difficult to value. “However, there is a credible use case for many forms of intellectual property, notably art, songs, videos,” Mr Das says.

What are NFTs?

Are non-fungible tokens a currency, asset, or a licensing instrument? Arnab Das, global market strategist EMEA at Invesco, says they are mix of all of three.

You can buy, hold and use NFTs just like US dollars and Bitcoins. “They can appreciate in value and even produce cash flows.”

However, while money is fungible, NFTs are not. “One Bitcoin, dollar, euro or dirham is largely indistinguishable from the next. Nothing ties a dollar bill to a particular owner, for example. Nor does it tie you to to any goods, services or assets you bought with that currency. In contrast, NFTs confer specific ownership,” Mr Das says.

This makes NFTs closer to a piece of intellectual property such as a work of art or licence, as you can claim royalties or profit by exchanging it at a higher value later, Mr Das says. “They could provide a sustainable income stream.”

This income will depend on future demand and use, which makes NFTs difficult to value. “However, there is a credible use case for many forms of intellectual property, notably art, songs, videos,” Mr Das says.

What are NFTs?

Are non-fungible tokens a currency, asset, or a licensing instrument? Arnab Das, global market strategist EMEA at Invesco, says they are mix of all of three.

You can buy, hold and use NFTs just like US dollars and Bitcoins. “They can appreciate in value and even produce cash flows.”

However, while money is fungible, NFTs are not. “One Bitcoin, dollar, euro or dirham is largely indistinguishable from the next. Nothing ties a dollar bill to a particular owner, for example. Nor does it tie you to to any goods, services or assets you bought with that currency. In contrast, NFTs confer specific ownership,” Mr Das says.

This makes NFTs closer to a piece of intellectual property such as a work of art or licence, as you can claim royalties or profit by exchanging it at a higher value later, Mr Das says. “They could provide a sustainable income stream.”

This income will depend on future demand and use, which makes NFTs difficult to value. “However, there is a credible use case for many forms of intellectual property, notably art, songs, videos,” Mr Das says.

What are NFTs?

Are non-fungible tokens a currency, asset, or a licensing instrument? Arnab Das, global market strategist EMEA at Invesco, says they are mix of all of three.

You can buy, hold and use NFTs just like US dollars and Bitcoins. “They can appreciate in value and even produce cash flows.”

However, while money is fungible, NFTs are not. “One Bitcoin, dollar, euro or dirham is largely indistinguishable from the next. Nothing ties a dollar bill to a particular owner, for example. Nor does it tie you to to any goods, services or assets you bought with that currency. In contrast, NFTs confer specific ownership,” Mr Das says.

This makes NFTs closer to a piece of intellectual property such as a work of art or licence, as you can claim royalties or profit by exchanging it at a higher value later, Mr Das says. “They could provide a sustainable income stream.”

This income will depend on future demand and use, which makes NFTs difficult to value. “However, there is a credible use case for many forms of intellectual property, notably art, songs, videos,” Mr Das says.

What are NFTs?

Are non-fungible tokens a currency, asset, or a licensing instrument? Arnab Das, global market strategist EMEA at Invesco, says they are mix of all of three.

You can buy, hold and use NFTs just like US dollars and Bitcoins. “They can appreciate in value and even produce cash flows.”

However, while money is fungible, NFTs are not. “One Bitcoin, dollar, euro or dirham is largely indistinguishable from the next. Nothing ties a dollar bill to a particular owner, for example. Nor does it tie you to to any goods, services or assets you bought with that currency. In contrast, NFTs confer specific ownership,” Mr Das says.

This makes NFTs closer to a piece of intellectual property such as a work of art or licence, as you can claim royalties or profit by exchanging it at a higher value later, Mr Das says. “They could provide a sustainable income stream.”

This income will depend on future demand and use, which makes NFTs difficult to value. “However, there is a credible use case for many forms of intellectual property, notably art, songs, videos,” Mr Das says.

What are NFTs?

Are non-fungible tokens a currency, asset, or a licensing instrument? Arnab Das, global market strategist EMEA at Invesco, says they are mix of all of three.

You can buy, hold and use NFTs just like US dollars and Bitcoins. “They can appreciate in value and even produce cash flows.”

However, while money is fungible, NFTs are not. “One Bitcoin, dollar, euro or dirham is largely indistinguishable from the next. Nothing ties a dollar bill to a particular owner, for example. Nor does it tie you to to any goods, services or assets you bought with that currency. In contrast, NFTs confer specific ownership,” Mr Das says.

This makes NFTs closer to a piece of intellectual property such as a work of art or licence, as you can claim royalties or profit by exchanging it at a higher value later, Mr Das says. “They could provide a sustainable income stream.”

This income will depend on future demand and use, which makes NFTs difficult to value. “However, there is a credible use case for many forms of intellectual property, notably art, songs, videos,” Mr Das says.

What are NFTs?

Are non-fungible tokens a currency, asset, or a licensing instrument? Arnab Das, global market strategist EMEA at Invesco, says they are mix of all of three.

You can buy, hold and use NFTs just like US dollars and Bitcoins. “They can appreciate in value and even produce cash flows.”

However, while money is fungible, NFTs are not. “One Bitcoin, dollar, euro or dirham is largely indistinguishable from the next. Nothing ties a dollar bill to a particular owner, for example. Nor does it tie you to to any goods, services or assets you bought with that currency. In contrast, NFTs confer specific ownership,” Mr Das says.

This makes NFTs closer to a piece of intellectual property such as a work of art or licence, as you can claim royalties or profit by exchanging it at a higher value later, Mr Das says. “They could provide a sustainable income stream.”

This income will depend on future demand and use, which makes NFTs difficult to value. “However, there is a credible use case for many forms of intellectual property, notably art, songs, videos,” Mr Das says.

What are NFTs?

Are non-fungible tokens a currency, asset, or a licensing instrument? Arnab Das, global market strategist EMEA at Invesco, says they are mix of all of three.

You can buy, hold and use NFTs just like US dollars and Bitcoins. “They can appreciate in value and even produce cash flows.”

However, while money is fungible, NFTs are not. “One Bitcoin, dollar, euro or dirham is largely indistinguishable from the next. Nothing ties a dollar bill to a particular owner, for example. Nor does it tie you to to any goods, services or assets you bought with that currency. In contrast, NFTs confer specific ownership,” Mr Das says.

This makes NFTs closer to a piece of intellectual property such as a work of art or licence, as you can claim royalties or profit by exchanging it at a higher value later, Mr Das says. “They could provide a sustainable income stream.”

This income will depend on future demand and use, which makes NFTs difficult to value. “However, there is a credible use case for many forms of intellectual property, notably art, songs, videos,” Mr Das says.

What are NFTs?

Are non-fungible tokens a currency, asset, or a licensing instrument? Arnab Das, global market strategist EMEA at Invesco, says they are mix of all of three.

You can buy, hold and use NFTs just like US dollars and Bitcoins. “They can appreciate in value and even produce cash flows.”

However, while money is fungible, NFTs are not. “One Bitcoin, dollar, euro or dirham is largely indistinguishable from the next. Nothing ties a dollar bill to a particular owner, for example. Nor does it tie you to to any goods, services or assets you bought with that currency. In contrast, NFTs confer specific ownership,” Mr Das says.

This makes NFTs closer to a piece of intellectual property such as a work of art or licence, as you can claim royalties or profit by exchanging it at a higher value later, Mr Das says. “They could provide a sustainable income stream.”

This income will depend on future demand and use, which makes NFTs difficult to value. “However, there is a credible use case for many forms of intellectual property, notably art, songs, videos,” Mr Das says.

What are NFTs?

Are non-fungible tokens a currency, asset, or a licensing instrument? Arnab Das, global market strategist EMEA at Invesco, says they are mix of all of three.

You can buy, hold and use NFTs just like US dollars and Bitcoins. “They can appreciate in value and even produce cash flows.”

However, while money is fungible, NFTs are not. “One Bitcoin, dollar, euro or dirham is largely indistinguishable from the next. Nothing ties a dollar bill to a particular owner, for example. Nor does it tie you to to any goods, services or assets you bought with that currency. In contrast, NFTs confer specific ownership,” Mr Das says.

This makes NFTs closer to a piece of intellectual property such as a work of art or licence, as you can claim royalties or profit by exchanging it at a higher value later, Mr Das says. “They could provide a sustainable income stream.”

This income will depend on future demand and use, which makes NFTs difficult to value. “However, there is a credible use case for many forms of intellectual property, notably art, songs, videos,” Mr Das says.

What are NFTs?

Are non-fungible tokens a currency, asset, or a licensing instrument? Arnab Das, global market strategist EMEA at Invesco, says they are mix of all of three.

You can buy, hold and use NFTs just like US dollars and Bitcoins. “They can appreciate in value and even produce cash flows.”

However, while money is fungible, NFTs are not. “One Bitcoin, dollar, euro or dirham is largely indistinguishable from the next. Nothing ties a dollar bill to a particular owner, for example. Nor does it tie you to to any goods, services or assets you bought with that currency. In contrast, NFTs confer specific ownership,” Mr Das says.

This makes NFTs closer to a piece of intellectual property such as a work of art or licence, as you can claim royalties or profit by exchanging it at a higher value later, Mr Das says. “They could provide a sustainable income stream.”

This income will depend on future demand and use, which makes NFTs difficult to value. “However, there is a credible use case for many forms of intellectual property, notably art, songs, videos,” Mr Das says.

What are NFTs?

Are non-fungible tokens a currency, asset, or a licensing instrument? Arnab Das, global market strategist EMEA at Invesco, says they are mix of all of three.

You can buy, hold and use NFTs just like US dollars and Bitcoins. “They can appreciate in value and even produce cash flows.”

However, while money is fungible, NFTs are not. “One Bitcoin, dollar, euro or dirham is largely indistinguishable from the next. Nothing ties a dollar bill to a particular owner, for example. Nor does it tie you to to any goods, services or assets you bought with that currency. In contrast, NFTs confer specific ownership,” Mr Das says.

This makes NFTs closer to a piece of intellectual property such as a work of art or licence, as you can claim royalties or profit by exchanging it at a higher value later, Mr Das says. “They could provide a sustainable income stream.”

This income will depend on future demand and use, which makes NFTs difficult to value. “However, there is a credible use case for many forms of intellectual property, notably art, songs, videos,” Mr Das says.

What are NFTs?

Are non-fungible tokens a currency, asset, or a licensing instrument? Arnab Das, global market strategist EMEA at Invesco, says they are mix of all of three.

You can buy, hold and use NFTs just like US dollars and Bitcoins. “They can appreciate in value and even produce cash flows.”

However, while money is fungible, NFTs are not. “One Bitcoin, dollar, euro or dirham is largely indistinguishable from the next. Nothing ties a dollar bill to a particular owner, for example. Nor does it tie you to to any goods, services or assets you bought with that currency. In contrast, NFTs confer specific ownership,” Mr Das says.

This makes NFTs closer to a piece of intellectual property such as a work of art or licence, as you can claim royalties or profit by exchanging it at a higher value later, Mr Das says. “They could provide a sustainable income stream.”

This income will depend on future demand and use, which makes NFTs difficult to value. “However, there is a credible use case for many forms of intellectual property, notably art, songs, videos,” Mr Das says.

What are NFTs?

Are non-fungible tokens a currency, asset, or a licensing instrument? Arnab Das, global market strategist EMEA at Invesco, says they are mix of all of three.

You can buy, hold and use NFTs just like US dollars and Bitcoins. “They can appreciate in value and even produce cash flows.”

However, while money is fungible, NFTs are not. “One Bitcoin, dollar, euro or dirham is largely indistinguishable from the next. Nothing ties a dollar bill to a particular owner, for example. Nor does it tie you to to any goods, services or assets you bought with that currency. In contrast, NFTs confer specific ownership,” Mr Das says.

This makes NFTs closer to a piece of intellectual property such as a work of art or licence, as you can claim royalties or profit by exchanging it at a higher value later, Mr Das says. “They could provide a sustainable income stream.”

This income will depend on future demand and use, which makes NFTs difficult to value. “However, there is a credible use case for many forms of intellectual property, notably art, songs, videos,” Mr Das says.