With 2013 just around the corner, it is time for the savvy investor to take stock of his portfolio and reassess his investment priorities.
Investment strategists are in the midst of issuing their forecasts, and several have noted that the new year could hold some surprises for the financial markets.
As Schroders' head of multi-asset investments, Ms Johanna Kyrklund, pointed out in a recent report: "What many investors currently perceive as safe-haven assets could turn out to be the snake lurking in the grass next year."
The overall outlook
The good news, said Ms Kyrklund, is that the political uncertainty that has weighed on market sentiment is gradually lifting.
The situation is now "uncertain rather than inscrutable", she said in her report.
"Over the last two years, investors have been seeking to gauge who was in charge, what their reaction functions were and what their willingness to back-stop the system was," she wrote.
"We are now at a point where we know we are in the hands of the Germans and the European Central Bank (ECB), that the Germans want deeper union and, based on ECB chief Mario Draghi's comments, that the ECB is willing to step in as required."
The bad news, she added, is that the economic environment is still challenging.
"In the normal way of things, one catalyst for a sustained turnaround in riskier assets would be signs of a turn in the economic cycle.