Outlook 2009

After a rocky start, stocks will finish the year in the black as investors anticipate a better economy.

Few investors will mourn the passing of 2008. In this annus horribilis, virtually every asset class crashed simultaneously. From the stock market's peak in October 2007, Americans suffered an epic destruction of wealth in excess of $10 trillion. And that's just at home. The U.S. financial crisis, triggered by the bursting of a colossal real estate and credit bubble, fueled a global panic and now an economic slump. John Makin, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute, calculates that $25 trillion of global wealth has vanished in this cycle.

Meanwhile, the U.S. economy has slid into a nasty recession. Kiplinger's thinks unemployment will surge to 9% in 2009. Deutsche Bank forecasts the weakest global growth since 1982, with the U.S., European and Japanese economies all shrinking in 2009.

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Contributing Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance