Financial Services

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Farmers Trust Co. Sees Economic Growth, Market Volatility Ahead

April 18, 2018
Farmers Trust Co. Sees Economic Growth, Market Volatility Ahead

CANFIELD, Ohio – From an investor point of view, 2018 has been a virtual roller coaster. After a fairly calm and predicable 2017, market volatility came to define the first quarter of 2018.

“Strong language out of Washington has stirred geopolitical fears, which combined with talk of trade wars is causing volatile reactions in the financial markets,” says John Stewart, Farmers Trust Co. Chief Investment Officer.

But that is only half the picture.

“We also have a domestic economy that is accelerating nicely, corporate earnings that are the strongest they’ve been in years and new tax cuts; the results of which haven’t been fully realized yet,” Stewart adds. “It all makes for a very challenging investing environment.”

Additionally, Stewart and the team at Farmers Trust Co. believe that, while full-implementation of federal tax cuts will act as a tailwind that continues to push the U.S. economy forward, higher inflation – and the increase in interest rates that usually accompanies inflation – will add even more complexity to navigating investment markets in the coming months.

Factoring in all of the dynamics, Farmers Trust Co. has prepared new guidance for its investor clients. The company recommends investors favor U.S. equities over international offerings, seek out value stocks versus growth stocks and increase exposure to smaller companies relative to larger ones.

The bottom line that Stewart points to is that 2018 can be a successful investment year if investors can find opportunities through tactical investing.

“There are always ways of maximizing a portfolio’s value. However, the foreseeable future is likely to be a period where ‘auto pilot’ investing is unlikely to produce the optimal results. You need professional guidance to make the time-sensitive adjustments that minimize your downside risks,” Stewart says.

Founded in 1887, Farmers has more than over $2 billion in banking assets and over $1 billion in trust assets. Its wholly-owned subsidiaries are comprised of Farmers National Bank with 41 offices, Farmers Trust Co., which operates four offices, National Associates Inc., Farmers National Insurance LLC and Bowers Insurance Agency Inc.

Pictured: John Stewart, Farmers Trust Co. chief investment officer.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.