How should investors expect markets to perform in the coming year? The broad consensus of the FT’s panel of investment experts can be summed up in one nifty acronym: Mots — or “more of the same”. The past 12 months have seen stock markets around the world touch new highs, even as central banks began unwinding their great monetary policy experiment. Interest rates have been raised three times in the US, and once in the UK, and inflation is back — just as our panel predicted a year ago. What they were less certain about was how politics would impact on markets, particularly for President Trump’s promised tax cuts, slow progress towards Brexit in the UK and the potential for a “hard landing” in China. The one thing they all feared — that volatility could return to stalk the markets — has not materialised. So, as the yield curve continues to turn, what is leading them to conclude that investors should expect “more of the same” in 2018 — and what are the caveats to their otherwise benign outlook? Will markets see greater volatility in 2018? Robert Armstrong: I will quickly identify myself as the Albert Edwards of the FT: I’ve correctly predicted 10 of the last one market crashes! At this point, it would be foolish of me to change my record. The bear case for next year’s market is stronger. Valuations are even higher now. Of course, trying to time market crashes doesn’t get you anywhere in life. But I think next year is a liquidity story. There are two scenarios: either central bankers hold their nerve, or they blink. Under the first scenario, liquidity starts to come out of the system in Japan, the US and Europe for the first time in a long time, which could knock markets. I say that, having been grouchy about the market now for five years, and holding a lot of cash. I’ve watched my personal wealth not grow as fast as everyone else’s, so I have paid the price for my scepticism. Merryn Somerset Webb: I feel exactly the same as you. We’re definitely coming to the end of one great 30-year cycle, and so everything has to change as it turns. However, I look at next year and I think, well, real interest rates are still going to be negative for a while, so maybe it’s not next year, maybe it’s the year after that you start to see all this movement. Anne Richards: It’s not going to be a valuation trigger. Asset prices are only going to move when people start to feel differently about them. Going into 2018, it is quite hard to see what the triggers for a change in sentiment could be. The trajectory of the jobs markets and the ripple of inflation coming back in will make people feel more positive. But I think there is increased risk of a policy mis-step. We have an untried Federal Reserve, led by non-economists, which is going to be interesting. And in the next two years you’ve got changes of central bank leadership potentially coming up in both Japan and Europe. When we talk about volatility, it’s only really equity market volatility that is low. There’s a lot of other volatility around — just look at bitcoin.