It was an epic year for stocks

U.S. stocks closed lower on Friday, but Wall Street finished off one of its best years in a long time.The Dow ...

Posted: Dec 31, 2017 12:29 PM
Updated: Dec 31, 2017 12:29 PM

U.S. stocks closed lower on Friday, but Wall Street finished off one of its best years in a long time.

The Dow raced 25% higher in 2017, getting even closer to 25,000 and making this year its best since 2013.

The index breezed through milestones. It had taken the Dow 14 years to climb from 10,000 to 15,000, but just three and a half years to reach 20,000 in 2017.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also grew substantially this year. The broader S&P 500 zoomed 19%. And the Nasdaq jumped an impressive 28%.

The booming stock market is the result of resurgent economic growth and blockbuster corporate profits. The biggest catalyst was likely the sweeping tax cuts President Trump just signed into law, which over time will save corporate America billions on what they owe Uncle Sam.

Crucially, the tax law provides incentives that encourage companies to return foreign profits held overseas. Moody's estimates that mountain of offshore cash totals a record $1.4 trillion.

The hope is that companies will use some of that repatriated cash to create jobs with new spending on equipment and factories. However, Wall Street is anticipating a big chunk of the money will go towards share buybacks and paying down debt -- moves that should further juice stock prices.

Trump has repeatedly bragged about roaring stock prices. "70 Record Closes for the Dow so far this year!" Trump tweeted on December 18. He added, "Wow!"

The stellar year on Wall Street was unusual in that it lacked the type of sharp retreats that often accompany rallies. The S&P 500 hasn't suffered a meaningful pullback since prior to the election, and volatility metrics have plummeted to record lows.

At nearly nine years old, the bull market is now the second-oldest and second-strongest in history.

Many Americans view stocks as a barometer for the economy. Consumer confidence has soared to 17-year highs. It's also created more wealth for many households.

Yet millions of Americans can't feel the stock market boom -- because they have little to no money in the market. Just 18.7% of taxpayers own stocks directly. Roughly half of Americans participate in the market through an employee-sponsored retirement plan, according to a Pew analysis of Census Bureau data. That gap has contributed to record-high wealth inequality in America.

Those who missed out on the bull market may wonder if it's too late to get in now. Yet most market strategists are predicting more gains in 2018, especially as the impact of the tax overhaul are felt.

If the tax plan creates the kind of growth Trump has promised, the market could have a lot more room to run.

But Moody's recently estimated the tax law will only add 0.1 or 0.2 percentage points to 2018 GDP growth. JPMorgan anticipates a bigger boost of 0.6 percentage points.

The catch, according to JPMorgan Funds chief global strategist David Kelly, is that the "bump to growth in 2018 will likely be a one-year wonder."

--CNNMoney's Lydia DePillis contributed to this report.

Huntsville/Redstone
Partly Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 42°
Muscle Shoals
Clear
40° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 37°
Huntsville/Madison
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 38°
Decatur
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 37°
Fort Payne
Clear
35° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 35°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 424028

Reported Deaths: 6121
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62258921
Mobile30381549
Madison27160186
Tuscaloosa20779267
Montgomery19049305
Shelby18572114
Baldwin16346182
Lee12515101
Morgan12260113
Etowah11757168
Calhoun11161200
Marshall10199107
Houston8630148
Cullman8036105
Limestone802874
Elmore7849101
DeKalb768897
Lauderdale760083
St. Clair7555120
Talladega6180108
Walker5903174
Jackson581341
Colbert533573
Blount530883
Autauga519855
Coffee443956
Dale398581
Franklin367548
Chilton337665
Russell331710
Covington327768
Escambia319342
Dallas303396
Chambers284269
Clarke282133
Tallapoosa2617107
Pike249429
Marion246250
Lawrence244247
Winston227335
Bibb216247
Geneva202535
Marengo199729
Pickens197031
Hale176442
Barbour173036
Butler170258
Fayette169026
Cherokee160530
Henry154421
Monroe145617
Randolph140735
Washington137726
Clay126745
Crenshaw119544
Lamar118219
Cleburne117723
Macon115035
Lowndes110735
Wilcox103121
Bullock99128
Perry97719
Conecuh94420
Sumter89126
Greene76123
Coosa60515
Choctaw51524
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 687751

Reported Deaths: 8430
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby765191128
Davidson70950665
Knox38829400
Hamilton34687327
Rutherford33228285
Unassigned22839126
Williamson21449140
Sumner18262232
Out of TN1618380
Montgomery14450149
Wilson14449157
Sullivan12606211
Blount11914125
Washington11911191
Maury10962123
Bradley1079191
Sevier10495108
Putnam9952136
Madison9131179
Robertson764585
Hamblen6990109
Anderson6792103
Greene6598108
Tipton621065
Gibson5639111
Coffee562882
Cumberland540072
Dickson536378
Bedford532589
Roane521279
Carter5109112
Lawrence508969
McMinn508573
Warren498753
Loudon495550
Jefferson477975
Dyer474982
Monroe457162
Hawkins446268
Franklin412161
Obion399679
Fayette397851
Rhea382456
Lincoln379444
Marshall345436
Cocke343856
Weakley339948
Cheatham336230
Henderson333057
Campbell324540
Giles321772
White311343
Carroll310459
Hardeman309452
Hardin298147
Lauderdale293731
Macon288850
Wayne261319
Henry260858
Overton253843
DeKalb242341
Haywood239845
McNairy238642
Smith231327
Trousdale228814
Marion228431
Scott225431
Hickman223534
Fentress212831
Claiborne212729
Grainger209035
Johnson201832
Morgan189015
Crockett180738
Bledsoe174210
Chester173837
Unicoi167043
Cannon157719
Lake155519
Decatur147326
Polk143617
Union139422
Grundy139321
Sequatchie137118
Humphreys132817
Benton132135
Lewis127520
Meigs114416
Stewart105520
Jackson104021
Perry94725
Clay93926
Houston93922
Moore8009
Pickett67919
Van Buren6607
Hancock4056

Community Events