2017 Year End Market Update

2017 is now in the books. It’s always fun to look at predictions made one year ago and see how they measured up to reality.

A survey of Wall Street strategists taken at the beginning of 2017 painted a very pale expectation of returns. On average, they speculated that the S&P 500 would post just over a 4% increase (see chart). Barron’s reported at the beginning of the year, “If Republicans don’t make progress with their proposed reforms by mid-2017, the market will correct.” Neither healthcare reform or tax reform was successfully completed by the end of the year, but there was certainly no market correction.

If we look at the scoreboard (actual returns) we can be grateful that the strategists missed the mark. The S&P 500 nearly doubled 2016’s return and came in at 21.83% for 2017. While international stocks lagged US significantly in 2016, they were the best performing asset class in 2017 with a 24.21% gain.

As interest rates remained low, bonds were once again lackluster with the Barclays Aggregate posting a 3.54% return for the year.

All this reflection leads us to concede once again that none of us has a crystal ball. As we look to 2018, we at Whitcomb & Hess are committed to a disciplined process to position you for a positive, risk-adjusted return, and provide you comprehensive planning that gives you confidence in reaching your goals regardless of what the market does. We look forward to the journey with you this year.

Everyone at Whitcomb & Hess would like to wish you a Happy New Year. Stay safe and warm during these winter months. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions that you may have.

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