2017-12-30 03:44:16 UTC
By Matthew Rocco Published December 29, 2017 Wall Street
U.S. President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up to supporters as he
arrives at the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament at Trump National Golf
Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, U.S., July 16, 2017. U.S. President
Donald Trump gives a thumbs up to supporters as he arrives at the U.S.
Women's Open golf tournament at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster,
New Jersey, U.S., July 16, 2017. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)
Some political pundits warned of market turmoil if Donald Trump made it
to the White House. But Wall Street has enjoyed a year for the record
books in 2017.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average has set 71 new records at the closing
bell, the best one-year performance for the blue-chip index. In another
first, the Dow has gained more than 5,000 points since the start of
2017. The broader S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite have also
mounted record runs.
Stocks have been on a tear going back to Election Day, reflecting
investors’ optimism over the U.S. economy, tax cuts and the broader
Trump agenda. The Dow had its strongest first year post-Election Day
since 1945, soaring 28.5%. Based on the Wilshire 5000, U.S. stocks have
gained approximately $6.6 trillion in value since Trump’s victory.
The market viewed Republican control of the White House and both
chambers of Congress as a favorable outcome that would end the
legislative logjam in D.C., according to John Lynch, chief investment
strategist for LPL Financial. Trump’s agenda, mainly tax reform and cuts
to business regulations, has lifted business confidence. Meanwhile,
economic growth has accelerated. GDP has expanded more than 3% in
back-to-back quarters, and economic growth of 3.3% in the third quarter
marked a three-year high. The New York Federal Reserve’s estimates call
for the U.S. economy to extend its streak in the fourth quarter.
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Robust corporate earnings have also fueled the market’s gains this year.
Companies in the S&P 500 reported profit growth of 9.8% in the third
quarter, according to FactSet. Analysts see similar growth coming in 2018.
Lynch said market gains next year will likely require policy
achievements in Washington, as investors look for the Trump
administration to follow through on its economic agenda. However, U.S.
and global growth are positive indicators as Wall Street prepares for 2018.
“There are a number of reasons to suggest that stocks may outperform the
presidential cycle pattern. Economic growth is steadily improving in the
U.S. and abroad, inflation remains well contained, monetary policy —
though tighter — is still accommodative, and earnings are growing
solidly across the globe,” Lynch wrote in a note to clients.
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Alexandra Coupe, associate director for PAAMCO, also said U.S. equities
“are likely to hinge on the successful implementation of fiscal and
monetary policy” in 2018.
With the final day of trading in the books, the Dow gained 25.2% in
2017. The S&P 500 was up 19.5% on the year, and the Nasdaq surged 28.2%.
The top performer in the S&P 500 this year is Invisalign maker Align
Technology (ALGN), which has advanced around 135% since the end of 2016.
Utility company NRG Energy (NRG) is a close second, posting a 131% gain
on the year. Wynn Resorts (WYNN), Boeing (BA), PayPal (PYPL), Nvidia
(NVDA), Activision Blizzard (ATVI) and Caterpillar (CAT) are all among
the 20 best-performing stocks in 2017.