After a superb year for stock markets in 2017 (the major markets averaged 17% gains), 2018 was a year that started where the previous had left off. By mid-January the S&P 500 was up around 7.5% and the Hang-Seng had risen by a staggering 10%, as investor optimism about the outlook for world growth continued unabated. Interestingly, the FTSE 100 hardly moved during this initial period as continuing concerns over Brexit (what else?!) led global investors to look outside the UK for equity exposure, a theme that has endured ever since the vote in 2016. Then, on 29th January, markets came crashing back to earth.