This could be the easiest year to make money since 1993

So far at least, 2017 has proven an uncommonly easy year to make money.

Despite a recent spate of anxiety-provoking events, many major assets are significantly higher on the year. The S&P 500 has risen 10 percent, gold futures are up 16 percent and Treasury bonds (judging by the popular Barclays long-term Treasury bond index) has gained 6 percent.

Nearly four full months remain ahead of us. But if 2017 were to end today, it would go down as the first year in which all three have risen by more than 5 percent since 1993, according to a CNBC analysis of FactSet data.

To be sure, there is something a bit odd about the concurrent rallies. Stocks and Treasury bonds are considered to be classic investment alternatives, with demand for the former reflecting economic optimism, and demand for the latter reflecting an urge to shelter one's money. Gold is seen as an asset that's turned to in times of rising fear and rising inflation; fear tends to be bad for stocks, and inflation is generally bad for bonds.

Given the contrary nature of their bullish drivers, it is little surprise that stocks, bonds and gold do not all tend to move significantly higher at once.

This year, the tripartite rally reflects "an environment of slight to moderate economic growth," Ari Wald of Oppenheimer said Tuesday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

In other words, the economy is strong enough to help companies earn more money and hence keep their stocks rising — but inflation that's turning out to be more moderate than expected is protecting bonds, and enough serious concerns abound to keep gold bid.

Of course, drawing broader lessons from the macro moves may well prove a fool's errand.

"I don't necessarily think that just because all these asset classes are working, it's telling us something," portfolio manager Mike Binger of Gradient Investments said Tuesday on "Trading Nation."

"It's great, and enjoy it," Binger added.



Trades to Watch

Trader Bios


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.

Brian Sullivan

Brian Sullivan is co-anchor of CNBC's "Power Lunch" (M-F,1PM-3PM ET), one of the network's longest running programs, as well as the host of the daily investing program "Trading Nation." He is also a frequent guest on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and other NBC properties.

Read more