In January, the stock market went on a tear, prompting many analysts to upgrade earnings estimates and raise price targets on the stock market's major averages, despite some looming warning signs on the horizon.
Some observers, like Charles Schwab's Liz Ann Sonders, or myself for that matter, suggested that investors rebalance their portfolios and wait until later in 2018, or beyond, to find a better buying opportunity for stocks, particularly those that had experienced rather substantial gains.
By September, the advice among the most cautious among us appeared off-the-mark, as the economy gathered steam, corporate profits remained strong and consumer spending accelerated.
The things many worried about most, from interest rate risk, to political risk, to foreign policy risk, were virtually ignored by the financial markets.
It was hard, at the juncture, not to capitulate to a market that had rebounded so sharply and recommend everyone get back into the pool.
However, in flash, the major averages are now down 10 percent, or more, from their recent highs in one of the worst Octobers since the financial crisis in 2008.
And the bricks in the "wall of worry" are still there and solidifying.
Interest rate risk remains as the Federal Reserve has insisted it plans on continuing its rate hikes as GDP accelerates, but rate-sensitive sectors of the economy, like housing and autos, slow down.
President Trump has raised the specter of imposing even more tariffs on China, on everything China sells to the U.S. That certainly got the market's attention on Monday.
Europe is looking to impose taxes on the revenues, not profits, of large technology companies, a new idea that comes at a time when corporate profit growth, and profit margins, may be peaking. The global economy, most notably in China, is slowing appreciably. Trade war risks are making it worse. Political divisions at home and growing nationalism abroad, witness the latest election results in Brazil, and it's hard to predict where the world is headed.
The underlying technical deterioration of the stock market has been evident all month. The Advance/Decline Line has rolled over while the number of new 52-week lows has exploded as the market sold off in October. The Dow Transportation Average is down more than 6 percent, year-to-date, a technical divergence that suggests demand for manufactured goods may be slowing in the U.S.
The transports deliver things. The industrials make things. When the deliverers turn down, not only is that an indicator that the economy could be slowing, but also could trigger one of the oldest technical sell signals in stock market history.
Now, it could be that we were simply overdue for a short, sharp and scary correction often occurring in the month of October.