It’s been a wild 2016 for the U.S. stock market. Panic-selling began during the first six weeks of the year, followed by a powerful rebound that quickly reversed double-digit losses in large- and small-cap indices. Now the Standard & Poor’s 500 is within sniffing distance of the all-time high attained last May.
Heading into 2016, some investors expected 2015’s challenging conditions — a lackluster economy, weakening earnings growth and the prospect of more interest rate hikes — to continue depressing the U.S. stock market. Others predicted that stocks would bounce back because of rising wages and a lack of alternative assets with attractive return potential.