This is actually shaping up to be a good year for most investors

Amid investor anxieties around the Federal Reserve's next move and the presidential election that collectively appear to have risen to a level worthy of a late-1950s Alfred Hitchcock thriller, it's worth stepping back to note that this has actually been a great year for many investors.

Stocks, bonds, gold and oil are all higher since the start of the year; if that is still true come New Year's Eve, 2016 will be the first year all four have risen since 2010.

In addition, volatility has dropped, a boon for investors who are liable to overreact to short-term moves, or would just prefer not to watch their money take a daily roller-coaster ride.

"This has seemly been quite a good year for diversified asset classes," Zachary Karabell, head of global strategy at Envestnet, said Friday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

"Not a spectacular year," Karabell added, "but just a decent year for a lot of these assets."

Thus far, the S&P 500 has risen about 5 percent, the long-term-Treasury-tracking ETF TLT is up more than 10 percent, and gold and oil have both surged 25 percent. This follows two years that saw both gold and crude slide, the latter more substantially.

Yet where some see a peaceful rise off of marginally improving fundamentals, others see a recipe for something like disaster.

"While this has been a very good year for a lot of asset classes, a few things make me nervous," Gina Sanchez of Chantico Global said Friday on "Trading Nation."

According to Sanchez, markets are both pricing in economic growth and continued stimulative central bank policies, and "those two things cannot coexist."

"Market complacency is waking up to the fact that it's going to be one or the other," she said.

Yet Karabell retorts that "complacency" does not quite characterize this market.

"If anything, I think market participants have been continually and chronically anxious about the state of the world and deeply suspicious of any of this underlying strength," Karabell said.


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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

Follow Michael Santoli on Twitter @michaelsantoli

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