The Year in Money

Market highs, a venture capital boom, and record-low unemployment were just some of the defining moments for investors in 2017

December 21, 2017
By Laurie Meisler

Stocks

Another day, another achievement. The Dow broke its own closing record 69 times and set an intraday high 71 times

Chinese companies dominated the list of best performers among stocks with market caps of more than $10 billion

Source: Bloomberg World Index, returns in U.S. dollars

Sometimes referred to as the “fear index” because it measures the stock market’s expectation of volatility, the VIX slid to its lowest point of all time on November 3

Bonds

Globally, corporations more than doubled their participation in the green-bond market in the past two years as they looked to finance sustainability projects

Encouraged by low yields and flexible debt terms, European corporations sold €96.1 billion of high-yield bonds this year, eclipsing the previous high of €76.1 billion set in 2014

Global issuance of corporate bonds rose nearly 5% to $2.25 trillion, a record for the second-straight year

Unemployment

Unemployment in Germany dropped to 5.6% in September, its lowest level since reunification. Jobless rates in Japan, Hong Kong, the U.S., Israel, the U.K. and Portugal, among other countries, hit 15-year lows

Figures are latest available

Funds

Apollo Global Management raised $24.6 billion for the largest-ever private equity buyout fund

The year given refers to the year the fund closes or makes its first investment

Hedge-fund assets invested in emerging markets rose 11%

Assets are as of September 30

Source: HFR

Money continued to flow into passive funds while money flowed out of active funds for the fourth straight year

As of October 31, 2017

Source: ICI, Bloomberg Intelligence

Taxes

The U.S. has the highest corporate tax rate among G7 countries; paring the rate to 21% will make the country 4th

Source: Deloitte

It is estimated that repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate will cut a total of $338 billion from the federal budget deficit by 2027. About 13 million Americans may also lose their health insurance.

Chart shows annual impact on deficit

Source: Congressional Budget Office, staff of the Joint Committee on taxation

Currencies

Bitcoin’s market value exceeded all but 12 S&P 500 companies, and its 2017 return of 1,752% was 12 times higher than the S&P’s top performer

Source: Bloomberg, coinmarketcap.com

Brexit headlines rattled the pound. The currency was at an 8-year low against the euro in late August and continued to fluctuate

Real Estate

Already the most expensive housing market in the world, Hong Kong residential property prices increased to their highest level of all time

Hong Kong Residential Property Prices All Types of Dwellings Index, 1999=100

With 17 named storms, the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season may incur the greatest insurance losses in history. Although final numbers aren’t in yet, estimates place three of the year’s hurricanes among the 10 costliest since at least 1970

Loss includes property and business interruption, excluding liability and life insurance losses. Figures for 2017 are estimates. All other numbers are shown in 2017 dollars.

Source: Swiss Re Institute, RMS

Venture Capital

More money went into startups than in any other year

Consumer

The U.S. student loan market exceeded the size of the U.S. high-yield corporate market

Wealth

Jeff Bezos became the richest person in the world, displacing Bill Gates

Marc Lore, U.S. e-commerce chief of Wal-Mart, was the highest paid corporate executive, awarded 58% more than Apple’s Tim Cook

Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi fetched the highest price ever paid for a painting sold at auction

Source: Artnet Price Database