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It was an epic year for stocks

U.S. stocks closed lower on Friday, but Wall Street finished off one of its best years in a long time.The Dow ...

Posted: Dec 31, 2017 1:29 PM
Updated: Dec 31, 2017 1:29 PM

U.S. stocks closed lower on Friday, but Wall Street finished off one of its best years in a long time.

The Dow raced 25% higher in 2017, getting even closer to 25,000 and making this year its best since 2013.

The index breezed through milestones. It had taken the Dow 14 years to climb from 10,000 to 15,000, but just three and a half years to reach 20,000 in 2017.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also grew substantially this year. The broader S&P 500 zoomed 19%. And the Nasdaq jumped an impressive 28%.

The booming stock market is the result of resurgent economic growth and blockbuster corporate profits. The biggest catalyst was likely the sweeping tax cuts President Trump just signed into law, which over time will save corporate America billions on what they owe Uncle Sam.

Crucially, the tax law provides incentives that encourage companies to return foreign profits held overseas. Moody's estimates that mountain of offshore cash totals a record $1.4 trillion.

The hope is that companies will use some of that repatriated cash to create jobs with new spending on equipment and factories. However, Wall Street is anticipating a big chunk of the money will go towards share buybacks and paying down debt -- moves that should further juice stock prices.

Trump has repeatedly bragged about roaring stock prices. "70 Record Closes for the Dow so far this year!" Trump tweeted on December 18. He added, "Wow!"

The stellar year on Wall Street was unusual in that it lacked the type of sharp retreats that often accompany rallies. The S&P 500 hasn't suffered a meaningful pullback since prior to the election, and volatility metrics have plummeted to record lows.

At nearly nine years old, the bull market is now the second-oldest and second-strongest in history.

Many Americans view stocks as a barometer for the economy. Consumer confidence has soared to 17-year highs. It's also created more wealth for many households.

Yet millions of Americans can't feel the stock market boom -- because they have little to no money in the market. Just 18.7% of taxpayers own stocks directly. Roughly half of Americans participate in the market through an employee-sponsored retirement plan, according to a Pew analysis of Census Bureau data. That gap has contributed to record-high wealth inequality in America.

Those who missed out on the bull market may wonder if it's too late to get in now. Yet most market strategists are predicting more gains in 2018, especially as the impact of the tax overhaul are felt.

If the tax plan creates the kind of growth Trump has promised, the market could have a lot more room to run.

But Moody's recently estimated the tax law will only add 0.1 or 0.2 percentage points to 2018 GDP growth. JPMorgan anticipates a bigger boost of 0.6 percentage points.

The catch, according to JPMorgan Funds chief global strategist David Kelly, is that the "bump to growth in 2018 will likely be a one-year wonder."

--CNNMoney's Lydia DePillis contributed to this report.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 918230

Reported Deaths: 15011
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1252491952
Lake623371084
Allen52301746
Hamilton43009443
St. Joseph41155584
Elkhart32831485
Vanderburgh29698436
Tippecanoe26442247
Johnson23106414
Hendricks21708338
Porter21255340
Clark16988222
Madison16899378
Vigo15562272
Monroe14186190
LaPorte13961235
Delaware13613215
Howard13531258
Kosciusko11150134
Hancock10534159
Warrick10431174
Bartholomew10233166
Floyd10099202
Wayne9557216
Grant8858194
Morgan8654158
Boone8231109
Dubois7521123
Henry7391126
Dearborn734186
Noble7208100
Marshall7168127
Cass7060117
Lawrence6803150
Jackson638980
Shelby6386106
Gibson5999105
Harrison587984
Huntington586490
Montgomery5663101
DeKalb555691
Knox532999
Miami523183
Clinton522464
Putnam519067
Whitley509851
Steuben480267
Wabash470192
Jasper465760
Jefferson456091
Ripley439074
Adams435565
Daviess4008106
Scott389563
White383457
Decatur376895
Clay376455
Greene375589
Wells375183
Fayette363074
Posey351841
Jennings341756
Washington324046
LaGrange312074
Spencer310734
Fountain306553
Randolph302087
Sullivan294947
Owen275961
Orange269659
Starke268961
Fulton264451
Jay248134
Perry244950
Carroll239926
Franklin229337
Vermillion225850
Rush225530
Parke212020
Tipton205354
Pike200938
Blackford163834
Pulaski155250
Crawford140818
Benton138316
Newton138141
Brown130646
Martin124416
Switzerland122310
Warren112616
Union92211
Ohio75811
Unassigned0461

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1319265

Reported Deaths: 21265
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1480641537
Cuyahoga1311202313
Hamilton948871307
Montgomery647451122
Summit548531041
Lucas49502853
Butler45993649
Stark39954963
Lorain30438525
Warren29170326
Mahoning25988629
Clermont24726278
Lake24088411
Delaware21722140
Licking19822239
Fairfield19780218
Greene19671266
Medina19208285
Trumbull19195506
Clark17188321
Portage15585224
Richland15540228
Wood15187208
Allen13654254
Miami13283244
Muskingum11821148
Wayne11448234
Columbiana11100239
Tuscarawas10388264
Marion10273144
Pickaway10162128
Scioto9766124
Erie9479170
Ross8979172
Lawrence8225116
Hancock8105140
Ashtabula8083184
Geauga7976155
Belmont7791183
Jefferson7093168
Huron7087125
Union703549
Washington6823116
Athens666163
Sandusky6608132
Darke6394135
Knox6308120
Seneca6113135
Auglaize569888
Ashland5631110
Shelby555799
Mercer545188
Brown533067
Defiance5278100
Madison527368
Crawford5148113
Highland514876
Fulton508781
Clinton505379
Logan494582
Preble4788110
Putnam4733106
Guernsey439057
Williams437281
Champaign426463
Ottawa425783
Perry414051
Jackson402259
Pike367140
Morrow359149
Fayette353951
Coshocton345064
Hardin341868
Adams338864
Gallia329254
Holmes3148107
Henry312668
Van Wert299269
Hocking280467
Wyandot271858
Carroll250451
Paulding231742
Meigs197842
Monroe178649
Noble160340
Morgan153528
Harrison145740
Vinton130217
Unassigned05
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Friday is the beginning for a more summer-like forecast, with more heat and humidity returning to the region.
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