At the opening bell of 2016, the markets looked like an overmatched boxer entering the ring. Taking crushing blows to the head on the first day of trading, stocks got pummeled, creating a nosebleed for the first month. In June, Britain shocked the world with its vote to leave the EU — creating global losses of about $2 trillion in one day. But the markets started punching back.
In a year dominated by political headlines, it was also filled with highlights, lowlights and surprises like the Pokemon Go phenomenon, the delightful end to the Chicago Cubs World Series curse, a widespread Zika virus debate and the continued cyber security threats with a billion Yahoo accounts being hacked.
It was a decent year for M&A activity. The Bayer and Monsanto deal for $66 billion created a combined company that controls one-fourth of the global supply of seeds and pesticides. And the biggest deal of the year, which received negative commentary from every political candidate, was the AT&T and Time Warner deal, worth $85.4 billion.
And no year is complete with a major scandal. Wells Fargo took the spotlight in September, with a scandal that resulted in CEO John Stumpf stepping down. The firm was accused of opening as many as 1.5 million deposit accounts and 565,000 credit cards without customer's permission in order to meet sales goals.
The Federal Reserve and President-elect Donald Trump exchanged a few punches … then the Fed did what everyone expected and raised rates in December amid a firming labor market and slowly rising inflation. It's your move Donald… And oil was taken out of intensive care unit and is now considered stable. And as the year went on the markets started to resemble a heavyweight champion defending its title. Stocks hit record highs in August and then again in December, with the Dow flirting with 20,000 like a Kardashian at a New Year's Eve party.
But before we embark on 2017, all the hopes, dreams and greed it may bring, let's hand out the best, worst and "I can't even" awards for 2016.