Dec 31, 2019 - Economy

Wall Street has its best year since 2013

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Wall Street had its biggest annual gain in six years — with the S&P 500 rising 29% and the Nasdaq Composite rising 35% in 2019. The Dow lagged behind other indices, but saw its biggest yearly gain since 2017.

Why it matters: U.S. stocks rebounded from 2018's year-end meltdown to log impressive gains, despite uncertainty stemming from the trade war and a slowdown in economic growth.

The big picture: The stellar performance of stocks wasn't just limited to the U.S. A gauge of global equities rose 24% this year, per Reuters — its best annual gain of the decade.

  • The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 23% this year, the best yearly performance since 2009.
  • As the Wall Street Journal notes, the U.S. stock gains come despite "subpar growth in earnings in revenue this year. Earnings per share growth will be just 1.4%, according to FactSet data, down from 22% in 2018."

Between the lines: Tuesday's close — which saw the S&P and Nasdaq close up less than 1%, while the Dow gained 76 points — also marks the final trading day of the decade. Technology stocks played a big role in driving Wall Street's gains.

  • Apple and Microsoft were the biggest contributors to the S&P's gains both this year and over the past 10 years, according to Howard Silverblatt, a senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

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

Go deeper