Sloan: In a drab year for stocks, the fantastic FANG Four made all the difference

On the surface, almost nothing happened in U.S. stock and bond markets last year. But when you look beneath the surface, you see that 2015 should be known as the Year of the FANG Four.

Let me explain. Last year, the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index essentially broke even on a “total return” basis. Ditto for the Barclays U.S. aggregate bond index.

But if you look at the detailed numbers, which I got from AJO, a Philadelphia money-management company, you see all sorts of fascinating discrepancies, few of which (if any) were part of the mainstream predictions a year ago.

The Dow had a total return — price changes plus reinvested dividends — of 0.21 percent. The S&P 500, a much broader and vastly more important market indicator, had a total return of 1.38 percent. Yawn City.

Read more: Washington Post

Allan Sloan is a columnist for The Washington Post. He is a seven-time winner of the Loeb Award, business journalism’s highest honor. View Archive


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