A New Year is upon us, and BlackRock has unveiled its rundown of What to Know and What to Do in 2015.

In short, the world is transitioning from a post-crisis Age of Recovery to what we are calling an Age of Divergence: As some regions get stronger, others continue to struggle. This can be a complicated world for investors to navigate. But uncertainty should not be a motive for inaction. To be sure, opportunities exist. . .even in an imperfect world.

The BlackRock List cuts through the clutter to home in on the essential things you need to know about today’s markets—along with our recommendations for navigating them. After all, isn’t your financial future worth the investment right now?

Want to read the full report? Download it here.

5 Things to Know in 2015

  1. Central Banks Diverge: Dollar Likely Higher

    The Fed is ready to raise interest rates in the U.S. Opposite action by other central banks, as a result of deflation concerns, will mute the move up, but even a small rate increase could impact the value of your bonds.

  2. Long-Term Rates: Still Low for Long

    Long-term interest rates may inch up this year, but expect them to be low for some time to come, meaning you’ll need diversified sources of yield to meet your income needs.

  3. U.S. Economy Leads the Pack

    Barring any shocks, we could see U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the area of 2.5% to 3% in the New Year, which is better than the 2.2% achieved through the third quarter of 2014 and should lend support to stocks.

  4. Inflation: Not on the Horizon—Yet

    We believe inflation will stay low for now, and that means companies’ costs should remain contained—a plus for American businesses, and thus, for stocks.

  5. A Bumpier Road Ahead for Stocks

    Stock market volatility will likely revert to normal in 2015. The silver lining: Volatility means down. . .and up. Stock market pullbacks could create buying opportunities for long-term investors


5 Things Investors Should Consider in 2015

1. Prefer Stocks Over Bonds, But Be Choosy

Stick with stocks for long-term growth. Downturns have always returned to upturns.

View chart

2. 'Stock Up' Outside the U.S., Too

Most stock market bargains live outside the U.S. Ensure you’re taking advantage.

View chart

3. Watch Your Step in Bonds

With rising interest rates, bond principal is at risk. Be wary of shorter maturities in particular, which would be most affected by a Fed rate hike.

View chart

4. Resist the Urge to Exit

It’s important to hold some cash, but too much can set you back. Cash comes with a cost after inflation and taxes.

View chart

5. Seek Growth in a Low-Growth World

Expand beyond traditional assets in an effort to optimize your portfolio's results

View chart

What to Know—and Do—in 2015

It's time to assess the investing landscape and your investment portfolio to ensure you're well positioned for the New Year. The List can help.

Rethink Your Bonds

Not All Bond Portfolios are Built The Same
An Adaptable Approach for Today's Changing Bond Markets
Managing Income for a Better Outcome

The stated investment preferences are the opinions of the authors and do not reflect individual investors' risk and return goals. Individual investors should consult with their financial professional about how to implement these opinions in a portfolio that is suitable for their goals and risk tolerance. These views do not necessarily reflect the investment decisions made within specific BlackRock portfolios. This material is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. The opinions expressed are as of December 5, 2014, and may change as subsequent conditions vary. Individual portfolio managers for BlackRock may have opinions and/or make investment decisions that, in certain respects, may not be consistent with the information contained in this report. The information and opinions contained in this material are derived from proprietary and nonproprietary sources deemed by BlackRock to be reliable, are not necessarily all-inclusive and are not guaranteed as to accuracy. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. There is no guarantee that any forecasts made will come to pass. Reliance upon information in this material is at the sole discretion of the reader.

Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal.

Stock and bond values fluctuate in price so the value of your investment can go down depending on market conditions.

International investing involves risks, including risks related to foreign currency, limited liquidity, less government regulation and the possibility of substantial volatility due to adverse political, economic or other developments. These risks often are heightened for investments in emerging/ developing markets, in concentrations of single countries or smaller capital markets. Frontier markets involve heightened risks related to the same factors and may be subject to a greater risk of loss than investments in more developed and emerging markets.

Fixed income risks include interest-rate and credit risk. Typically, when interest rates rise, there is a corresponding decline in bond values. Credit risk refers to the possibility that the bond issuer will not be able to make principal and interest payments.

There may be less information on the financial condition of municipal issuers than for public corporations. The market for municipal bonds may be less liquid than for taxable bonds. Some investors may be subject to federal or state income taxes or the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). Capital gains distributions, if any, are taxable.

You should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of the fund carefully before investing. The prospectus and, if available, the summary prospectus contain this and other information about the fund and are available, along with information on other BlackRock funds, by calling 800-882-0052 or from your financial professional. The prospectus should be read carefully before investing.

Buying and selling shares of ETFs will result in brokerage commissions.

The BlackRock mutual funds and iShares Funds are distributed by BlackRock Investments, LLC, member FINRA.

© 2015 BLACKROCK, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BLACKROCK is a registered trademark of BlackRock, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and elsewhere. All other trademarks are those of their respective owners.

Not FDIC Insured | May Lose Value | No Bank Guarantee

USR-5211