Dec 31, 2019 - Economy

Why it was so hard for investors to lose money in 2019

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

2019 was the rare year when the simple investing strategy of targeting almost anything would have worked, the New York Times notes.

What happened: A series of interest rate cuts this year from the Federal Reserve — the first since the Great Recession — juiced the markets, making it a great time for investors.

The winners:

  • "The S&P 500 index was up 28.5 percent, through [yesterday], its best performance since 2013 and one of the best in decades."
  • "Broad indexes of the American bond markets are up nearly 9 percent."
  • "Gold jumped 18.5 percent and silver nearly 16 percent, and other commodities were also up."
  • "Futures prices for hogs, in case that had been your pick, gained about 18 percent."

The (few) losers: Not everything was a sure bet this year — natural gas and cobalt both fell. And individual stocks can have their risks, as the Times notes Macy's fell 40% this year.

Go deeper: The market will need the Fed again in 2020

Go deeper