2017 stock market: very investor friendly

For those with retirement plans, it was a good year. In fact, a great year compared to most.    

Many experts believe that much of the market's meteoric rise can be attributed to a yearlong investor anticipation and build up to the President's tax reform bill. UC Berkeley Economist James Wilcox says Investors also saw a broadly strengthening economy, miniscule U.S. unemployment figures and strong economic performance in many, markets around the world. 

"I think almost everybody has been surprised by the enormous increase in equity values this year, but stock markets are historically very volatile,” Wilcox said. “So, it is not unusual at all to see a twenty percent move in a stock market either up or down in the course of a year.”

Today's finish in the Dow was just about 20% higher than the last day of trading last year. The broader S&P 500 stocks ended 18% higher. The tech centric NASDAQ ended 22% higher. The average 401(k) account that had $88,000 one year ago, would now have, as of today, almost $106,000.

Terry Connelly, a lawyer and Dean Emeritus of the Golden Gate University School of Business and a former Wall Street investment banker, says the markets always look to the future. 

"It tends to be forward looking and it wants to get ahead of what's going to happen,’ Connelly said. “And once the market sort of decided collectively, at the end of last year, maybe Trump's going to be good for business, and business is good for the market, that's probably the match that set the fire.”