Shifting To A Lower Gear

Investors may not be able to count on a sharply rising stock market

Anxious? That's understandable. After all, 1998 was a tumultuous year, marked by huge swings in mood--and prices--on global markets. Economies from Russia to Brazil were at the brink of collapse while world leaders from Helmut Kohl to Bill Clinton lost their jobs or saw their power curtailed. True, the U.S. economy hummed along smartly in 1998. But the guessing is that things will cool down in 1999. Increasingly, the experts believe that corporate profits will continue to be under pressure and that, in turn, incomes and growth will weaken. The experts aren't always right, of course--after all, most economists and investment pros have been badly underestimating the strength of the economy and the resilience of the stock market.

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