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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The issues that whipsawed stocks in 2018 — namely trade and the Fed — aren't going anywhere this year, leaving few catalysts to push stocks to new highs.

The big picture: Analysts overwhelmingly predict the historic bull run has at least one more year to go. The analysts who cut their expectations say they did so because of recent market volatility. "The world’s largest banks and money managers are gearing up for the last hurrah of one of the longest bull markets in history," Bloomberg writes.

Expand chart
Source: Yahoo Finance and analysis of Wall Street outlooks; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Wall Street outlooks reviewed by Axios say that although the U.S.-China trade war is the crucial factor for stocks, almost all feel good about the likelihood of a deal, despite the unpredictable nature of the trade conflict.

  • A continuing trade war would hit CEO confidence and create more uncertainty for capital expenditure plans.
  • And thanks to dwindling impact from the corporate tax cut, earnings growth is expected to fall to 8% from 20% this year. Add an escalation of the trade war and there will be no earnings growth next year, UBS strategist Keith Parker predicts.

The Fed may back off on hiking interest rates as quickly as previously planned, but the central bank will continue on the tightening path and won't revert to easing — despite what traders are betting.

  • As Axios' Dion Rabouin notes, Fed chair Jerome Powell's thinking may have shifted after the bleak performance of equity markets in December. But if the economic data remains solid, it's unclear how much further equities will have to fall in order to see the Fed really dial back its hawkish stance.
  • An added Fed wild card: This year brings more press conferences, and thus more chances for Powell to spook the markets. Or, if we're being optimistic, give the market more opportunity to adapt to Powell's communication style.

What to watch: We'll get some clue about how the biggest issues for the market may play out early in the year: Trade talks kick off within the next few days, and the Fed holds a two-day meeting and faces reporters in late January.

Go deeper

Texas urges Supreme Court to leave abortion ban in place

Photo: Emily Elconin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Texas on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to keep in place a law that bans abortions after an embryo's cardiac activity is detected, which can be as soon as six weeks and before many people know they are pregnant.

Driving the news: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is asking the high court to ignore the Justice Department's emergency request that they temporarily block the law while federal courts consider its constitutionality since it "lacks standing because it has not been injured by SB 8."

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Meme stonks lose their appeal to the world of crypto

Data: Cardify; Chart: Axios Visuals

That sucking sound you hear is the outflow of meme-chasing dollars from the stock market.

Why it matters: The caravan has moved on. The dream of getting rich quick still lives, but today it's more often found in the world of crypto, NFTs or even sports betting than it is in the stock market.

Latinas who brew seek to shake craft beer industry

A server at Mujeres Brew House in San Diego rings up a customer in front of a selection of craft beers. Photo: Russell Contreras/Axios

Independent craft brewers are popping up in cities across the country, and a small but growing number of them are Latina-owned or run by a Latina head brewer.

The big picture: Latinas are opening up independent craft breweries from California to Colorado as Latina-owned small businesses continue to be one of the fastest-growing segments of the economy despite a lack of venture capital.