2017 was a good year to make money.
Thanks to low interest rates, a rare synchrony of economic growth around the world, and higher company profits, many assets had one of their strongest years in this cycle.
Here’s the scoreboard:
Almost every major stock market gained.
One of the catchphrases among economists this year was “synchronized global growth.”
They were basically saying that most economies around the world are expanding, not shrinking, at the same time. This hasn’t happened since 2007, right before the US economy collapsed.
It’s partly thanks to low borrowing costs from central bankers, which have encouraged economic growth and risk-taking in financial markets.
GE had a rough year.
The former CEO Jeff Immelt retired this year after overseeing a turnaround that involved expensive, ambitious expansions into new businesses. Mid-November, the company cut its dividend and announced a restructuring plan that failed to impress investors, as the stock has fallen another 15% since then.
On the flip side, strong demand for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner aircraft helped propel its stock to the top of the Dow’s leaderboard for 2017.
FANG, FAANG, and FAAMG stocks.
Whatever the acronym, tech was the winning sector in 2017 and helped contribute to much of the S&P 500’s gains.
The best-performing S&P 500 stock in 2017 wasn’t one of those companies, however. It was Align Technology, the company that makes invisible braces and has earned more than $1 billion in sales this year. Its stock surged 134%.