U.S. stocks shook off a poor start for the year to log its best performance since 2013. Stocks weathered several shocks in 2016, including a possible global recession scare during the first quarter, Britain’s surprising vote to exit the European Union (Brexit) in the second quarter, and the shocking election of Donald Trump in November. The bulk of 2016’s gains came in the second half of the year. A rebound in corporate earnings, accelerating U.S. economic growth and stabilizing oil prices helped stoke investor enthusiasm for stocks. The rally gathered pace after the election of Mr. Trump as investors bet the new administration would usher in business-friendly policies such as tax cuts, looser regulations and fiscal stimulus such as infrastructure spending.
2016 Year-End Review & Outlook