After a bumpy 2015, the major indices ended about where they started. The S& P 500 Index eked out a total return of 1.4%, and bonds, as measured by the Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index, posted a return of 0.6%. The stock market lows of the year were set in August, falling over 12% from the previous highs set in May. Anxiety over China and a supply glut of oil drove energy prices to levels not seen in over a decade. The falling price of crude oil resulted in the energy sector to post a loss of over 21%. The bright spot of the year was the continued strength of the domestic labor market. The unemployment rate ended the year at 5% and when combined with low inflation, gave the Fed a green light to hike interest rates for the first time since 2006.
In real estate, they say that location is everything. In economics, timing is paramount. With prices rising at a pace not seen since the early