There are a few days left in 2015.
Looking back, there were a lot of huge stories in the markets and the economy.
The Federal Reserve ended the era of zero interest rate policy. China’s spectacular stock market went boom and bust. Oil gained and then hit multi-year lows. US stocks had a roller coaster ride and is on track to end lower for the year.
Throughout the year, Business Insider has been giving you reflections of what’s been happening in the market and economy through our Chart of the Day.
We’ve shown you that wage growth pressures have been building (and building). We’ve shown you the steady decline in the Baker Hughes oil rig count. We’ve shown you that stock valuations were too high, then coming back to earth; that consumers were getting more confident; that corporations have seen earnings disappear, and more.
Here we’ve collected all of these charts from the smartest analysts and a few of our own design.
Each chart is accompanied by the headline of the day, a snippet from the story to refresh your memory, and a link so you check out the full post.
Enjoy reminiscing on 2015.
'Not that it means anything, but just looking at the chart is a bit nerve-wracking. The S&P 500 is up over 200% from its low. That's more than twice the gains we saw going into the most recent crash.'
'Government employment since the 1970s has grown at a slower rate than employment overall, causing the proportion of government employees among total employees to remain on a mostly downward trend over the last 30 years.'
'The Shiller P/E ratio, which is a price-to-earnings ratio based on 10-year average earnings, is a popular metric and is at its third-highest point ever. Our own Henry Blodget has often used the Shiller P/E to bolster his argument that the stock market is fabulously overvalued and could be primed for a crash.'
'One of the only disappointing parts of last Friday's jobs report was the 0.2% drop in average hourly wages, potentially indicating an ongoing problem in the labour market. But, there's every possibility that the December wage drop will prove to be a fluke of the calendar.'
If the stock market closes higher this year, it will do something it's never done before (January 14)
'The US stock market has been up for six consecutive calendar years -- from 2009 to 2014. If it closes up in 2015 for the seventh year in a row, it will be the first time this happens ever.'
One of the best predictors of recessions is rapidly approaching the here-comes-a-recession Level (January 15)
'As the price of oil has tumbled, this number has become more closely watched as the market looks for signs that companies are shuttering production as a result of lower prices. On Thursday night, oilfield services company Schlumberger announced that it would cut 9,000 jobs in response to the decline in oil prices.'
'However, the report includes the following chart showing the share of global wealth belonging to the top 1% and the bottom 99%. Except there is a big problem: linear extrapolation.'
'And so while the weekly count includes oil and natural gas rigs, this week 49 oil rigs shut down while 6 natural gas rigs were brought online. Oil is where the action is.'
'When stock market bubbles come to a head, they make wild swings both up and down. UBS's Julian Emanuel zoomed into the stock market action during the previous two major market peaks to illustrate this important observation.'
'In the just-released IMF World Economic Outlook the 2015 forecast for the US has been raised by 0.5 to 3.6%. I used to work at the IMF WEO division and I don't recall having seen before a forecast where the US was revised up significantly and everyone else was revised down.'
'But by 2014, $80 a barrel was the breakeven price for 25,000 kbd of production. So in just five years, the amount of oil that was produced with a breakeven price of $80 a barrel more than tripled. And what's more, over this period, oil prices lingered between $90-$100 a barrel.'
'Deflation is a very scary phenomenon. When prices fall, consumers and businesses often hold back on purchases hoping for even lower prices. Economic activity seizes and prices continue to fall in a self-reinforcing cycle.'
'One of the brightest highlights of the report was a big and broad based jump in real personal consumption expenditures at a 4.6% annualized growth rate, the strongest level we've seen since 2006.'
The big US oil companies have confirmed the business spending collapse we've been worried about (February 2)
'And via Mark Perry at the American Enterprise Institute, oil production in January was at the highest monthly level since October 1973 -- 41 years ago. This surge comes even as data from Baker Hughes shows that rig counts continue to decline.'
'As the price of oil has cratered, so have the number of oil rigs in use. But in its most recent earnings announcement, Baker Hughes -- which also said it would cut 7,000 jobs -- said that in past downturns in oil prices, the number of rigs in use have fallen by 40%-60%.'
'And so as the crash in oil prices takes it toll on America's largest oil companies, the 500 biggest companies now face the collective specter of no sales growth this year.'
'A report from the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday said that US Crude inventories rose by 4.9 million barrels last week. This was more than the 3.6 million barrel increase that was expected.'
'On Thursday, the January report on retail sales showed food services and drinking places saw the biggest year-over-year jump for any kind of business, as sales increased 11.3%.'
'Only 11 work stoppages, including both strikes and lockouts, involving at least 1,000 workers began in 2014, tied with 2010 for the second lowest number on record.'
David Rosenberg doesn't know how to feel about this force anchoring 90% of the industrialized world (February 19)
'Deflation is a scary monster. Falling prices encourage businesses and consumers to wait for even lower prices. But that in turn causes economic activity to seize up, which makes prices fall even further.'
Robert Shiller's revered stock market valuation ratio is crappy at predicting 12-month returns (February 25)
'Intuitively, you'd think that a high CAPE would be followed by low or negative returns, while a low CAPE would be followed by higher positive returns. This would manifest as blue dots going from the top left to the bottom right.
By eyeballing it, it's obvious the trend is not clear.'
'While workers rejoice, some investors are nervous about the impact that higher wages (and the cost to companies) may have on earnings growth.
But according to Citi's Tobias Levkovich, these concerns are overblown.'
Americans are spending more at bars and restaurants than grocery stores for the first time in history (March 4)
'It's the performance of the S&P 500 (purple line) versus the performance of holding the just the stock of the S&P 500 company with the biggest market cap (multi-coloured line).'
'Valuation metrics in some sectors do appear substantially stretched -- particularly those for smaller firms in the social media and biotechnology industries, despite a notable downturn in equity prices for such firms early in the year.'
'However, at roughly 16.8 times the 2015 earnings forecast by BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research's equity strategy team, Tech stocks are nowhere near the lofty valuations of 2000.'
'Therefore, we believe investors are likely overstating the importance of elevated P/E levels as it relates to potential market performance in the coming months.'
Stock market trading volumes are on the rise for the first time in years, and that could be bad (March 25)
'In the coming months, we should expect higher volatility and higher volumes across all asset classes, as more and more investors realise that the Fed is actually going to hike rates this summer.'
'Remarkable really, hard to explain with savings rates averaging 4.5% September/October/November, jumping to 4.9% December, 5.5% January and now today 5.8% in February.'
'Once the unemployment rate among people out of work less than six months falls to an extremely low level, as it recently has, employers may be forced to bid up increasingly scarce skilled labour.'
'But despite the report disappointing to expectations, job gains are still solid and the unemployment rate for an essential part of the economy is still sinking: college graduates.'
'Consumer import price inflation is likely to continue to drop, as weak inflation overseas continues and weak commodity prices and the strong dollar work their way into consumer prices.'
'The lack of US retail investor interest in stocks has been stunning and equity market tops usually consist of overly aggressive individual investor interest in the asset class.'
'Looking at all the indicators on capacity, monetary policy, and inflation today versus the exact same phase of the other modern-day long cycles of the 1990s and 2000s, this current one still has a lot of legs.'
'Based on the earnings calls to date, the stronger US dollar has been cited by the most companies in the index as a factor that either had a negative impact on earnings or revenues for Q1, or is expected to have a negative impact on earnings and revenues in future quarters.'
'Indeed, Americans did so much cutting that the household debt service ratio -- that is periodic debt payments as a percentage of total disposable income -- is near a record low of 9.9%.'
'You'd think that when Wall Street experts cut expectations for earnings, stock prices would fall.
But that simply hasn't been true. And it hasn't been true for decades.'
'In recent years we've explained this phenomenally low default environment by discussing the increasingly artificial demand for fixed income which has allowed more borrowers to access capital markets at cheaper rates.'
The risk of a market shock causing spillovers is worse today than it was before the financial crisis (April 20)
Wall Street's strategists and stock pickers have switched places for the first time in 7 years (April 21)
'Barclays' Jonathan Glionna offers a much more granular look at the history of PEs and future returns in a note to clients this week. And in an incredible feat, he crammed all of the information into one chart.'
'While the absolute earnings upside largely reflects the 'beat and guide lower' that occurred last quarter, the revenue weakness coupled with the large earnings beat relative to consensus is the key to assessing margins.'
'If the data are recalculated using fixed pre-crash employment weights, wage growth is now running at about 2.3% year-over-year, a bit more than the 2.1% increase in the published numbers in the year to March.'
Here's a $1.2 trillion pile of cash, and it's not on corporate or government balance sheets (April 29)
'And just a day after the disappointing Q1 GDP release, the Atlanta Fed has news about Q2: the economy will grow by just 0.9%, according to their latest forecast.'
'We are not saying to 'Sell in May,' as we are still constructive on the market, but rather our main message is to manage expectations over the next few months.'
'The recent dip in Americans' economic confidence -- which is being dragged down largely by the lower economic outlook component -- is likely the culmination of a variety of economic factors.'
'But with the prospects of higher rates not too far off, the big risk is that investors start dumping these bonds as higher quality bonds become more attractive and the risk profile of these companies increases.'
The timing of the first rate hike could come down to how the Fed looks at these 2 wage indicators (May 8)
'From the late nineties through the Great Recession, this relationship was very strong: big increases in unemployment were associated with big decreases in births, and big decreases in unemployment happened at the same time as big upward jumps in the number of births.'
'So for years companies have been delevering their balance sheets. In other words, they have been cutting back on debt.
And seven years after the crisis, there's not much evidence suggesting the big companies are back to boosting debt as a percentage of their balance sheets.'
What earnings growth would have looked like if oil didn't crash and the dollar didn't surge (May 13)
'According to data from UBS, as of last week, traders continued to add to short positions on S&P 500 E-mini futures, meaning these folks were betting that stock prices would fall.'
''Not coincidentally,' Barclays wrote, 'these are periods when the U.S. economy experienced a recession and the S&P 500 declined. Overall, the staples sector captures most of its relative return when the market is falling, confirming the sector's reputation for being defensive.''
'Clearly, clients have been buying European and Japanese equities at the expense of the US. And buying from sovereign wealth funds, pension funds and central banks, i.e. investors not captured by weekly flow data, may be propping up US equity indices.'
The Shanghai stock market crashed on Thursday -- here's what it looks like next to the US markets (May 28)
'The other statistic that was fascinating yesterday was that turnover (Bloomberg) on the (Shanghai and Shenzen) bourses discussed above was at a record $380bn on Thursday surpassing the $248bn on US stock exchanges and just under $9bn in the UK.'
'Adjustable-rate mortgages, also known as floating-rate mortgages, see their interest rates reset as some benchmark interest rates move. When rates are falling, the borrower wins as their mortgage rate falls.'
'UBS economist Sam Coffin looked at the relationship between the number of unemployed people per job opening and a broad and reliable measure of wages and other employee compensation.'
'Currently, this measure is just above 27x, a level we've seen only before stock market crashes in the 1920s, the dotcom bubble, and the global financial crisis of just a few years ago.'
''The current 12-month forward P/E ratio is 16.8,' FactSet's John Butters said on Friday. 'This P/E ratio is above the 5-year average (13.8) and the 10-year average (14.1).''
'The new dot plot shows that all 17 members expect that the appropriate federal funds rate for the end of 2015 should be under 1%, with the median member seeing rates between 0.5% and 0.75%. That would appear to signal an end to zero interest rate policy, and thus rate hikes later this year.'
'Jeffrey Kleintop at Charles Schwab pointed out that based on GDP projections, 2015 is setting up to be the first time that the three biggest developed economies have all grown in a year since 2010.'
Here's what stock market valuations look like if you add back all the bad stuff companies like to take out (June 19)
'So, for example, people who are unemployed would have been considered to have participated in 'work and work-related activities' for zero hours, and are incorporated into the average as such.'
'But given its close ties, you could easily argue that the countries of the European Union make for one big economy. Indeed, you would be arguing that it's the world's largest economy.'
'For most Chinese households, consumption is driven by income growth not fluctuations in their assets, according to Qu. And most people put the bulk of their wealth in cash and deposits rather than stocks.'
''In our view, the quilt illustrates the importance of portfolio diversification and regular rebalancing,' Stoltzfus writes. 'On its own, each asset class can be quite volatile, but a mix of assets in a balanced portfolio can lower overall volatility.''
'The last time this happened, it was the Dow that stood still for six months in 1904. But then something else happened: Stocks surged 43% over the next two quarters.'
'By 'bad chart,' O'Hara means charts with defined downtrends -- meaning the line is more or less moving down and to the right. By 'good chart,' O'Hara means charts with defined uptrends -- meaning the line is more less moving up and to the right.'
Using out results as a predictor of future returns isn't going to help one bit.
Check out the whole post»
'Among other things, he found that history is not on the consensus' side.
'The dollar has historically fallen after the first Fed rate hike; indeed, the first rate hike on the last five tightening cycles was associated with a dollar weakening by around 10% over the following three months,' he said.'
'It appears that rating agencies are oftentimes 'late to the game,' as their ratings decision usually occurs after materially negative information has already been well disseminated in the investor community.'
There are 2 conflicting interpretations of the Fed right now, and both parties are feeling equally emboldened (August 10)
''Fed Funds remain far too low compared to any measure of nominal growth, but the slowdown in the pace of both employment and wage growth reinforces the impression of a very modest economic cycle and a very, very low peak in rates when they finally do rise.'
'For Asian currencies, excluding Japan, Morgan Stanley writes, 'the major victims of the above policy changes in China are countries with high export exposure and export competitiveness with China which are coincidentally also suffering from issues of disinflation and overcapacity.'
'To date, 3% CNY devaluation is unlikely to have much impact on domestic growth or commodity demand fundamentals as the CNY remains 15% stronger on a trade-weighted basis versus a year ago.'
Profits aren't actually growing -- companies are just fudging the numbers more than usual (August 17)
'The divergence between global commodity prices and equities is not a new theme but the danger now is that they begin to re-correlate - as they did when the dotcom bubble burst in 2000 and what had previously been an emerging market crisis became a US recession.'
'The PE based on trailing 12-month earnings is back to its long-run average. While the PE based on expected earnings for the next 12 months remains a hair above average, Bianco thinks it's nevertheless attractive.'
'In fact, the daily outflows from equity funds on Tuesday hit their highest level since 2007, with investors withdrawing $19 billion (£12.32 billion), an astonishingly large figure.'
'Despite myriad of signs that say inflation is low, staying low, and perhaps going lower, Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer is sanguine about price stability.'
'This is a troubling sign, as Korea's exports represent the world's imports. Because it is the first monthly set of hard economic numbers from a major economy, economists across Wall Street dub South Korean exports as the global economic 'canary in the coal mine.''
'Spain, Russia, and Brazil lead the way as the most 'miserable.' Spain's high misery number can be attributed primarily to unemployment, while for Russia and Brazil it's more about that rising inflation.'
'The surge in the number of job openings in recent months is now taking on epic proportions' (September 9)
'The data in absolute terms, and relative to the level of unemployment and the population, now signal unambiguously that the labour market is unable to supply the people companies need.'
'The Fed now risks being wrong footed, and the problem for the stock market today is the Fed is 'threatening' to raise interest rates at a time when S&P 500 earnings growth is actually negative.'
'And the Nobel laureate's concern can be summed up in this chart, which shows a steady decline in the valuation of the stock market from both institutional and individual buyers.'
'And so the recent move in the 2-year does not imply that traders expect the Fed to lift rates this Thursday. It does, however, indicate that the bond market is positioning for higher rates.'
'Given our view that the Fed will prefer to avoid delivering big surprises, the current low market-implied probability of a September liftoff (among other considerations) should dissuade the Fed from hiking at the September FOMC meeting.'
'During bouts of panic and fear in the markets, asset correlations, or the degree to which the prices of two assets move in the same direction, spike. When correlations go up as prices are tanking, it means people are just dumping everything with little regard to the asset-specific fundamentals.'
'With limited growth opportunities in a low interest rate environment, many CFOs have argued buying back stock is the best way to boost shareholder value in the near-term.
While buybacks have been booming since the financial crisis, they have leveled off lately.'
Here's the major trend exacerbating labour shortages in the American homebuilding business (September 23)
'The US Economic Policy Uncertainty News-Based Index in blue and the Bloomberg News Story Keyword Search 'shutdown' in red. Both suggest that people are not interested in reading about the looming government shutdown -- or what it would mean for the economy.'
ROSENBERG: The world has a 'reliable buyer of last resort' -- it's smaller than the US economy but bigger than China's (September 28)
'To make matters worse, companies have employed aggressive accounting maneuvers to accurately reporting certain costs from their publicized financial results. These adjusted items include stock compensation, restructuring costs, amortization of intangible assets, and takeover costs.'
The US economy is telling 2 stories, and the good story is way better than the bad story (September 30)
'After reviewing 11,295 ratings, FactSet's John Butters found that the the aggregate of analysts' expectations (you can derive analysts' implied target for the S&P 500 by combining their price targets for the respective companies they cover) imply that the S&P 500 will rocket 20% to 2,317.'
'While P/E multiples have been shown to reveal what may happen in long-run returns, they're actually quite terrible at predicting what'll happen in the near term Indeed, they tend to drift for long periods of time, which means prices could keep falling making valuations even more attractive.'
'Wealthier and healthier, influencers and creators -- women now represent one of the most powerful economic cohorts not only the in United States but also the world.'
'However, the economy managed to escape recessions during periods when it was the energy sector leading the way down. As such, strategists believe it's important to consider what earnings look like excluding the recent drags from oil prices.'
'The markets are a funny beast, because not only are they off of their lows, they're almost all the way back to the levels they were at at the beginning of the summer.'
'In addition to explaining how the 'very whippy price action in recent trading' is bad for sentiment, Antczak noted that the mix of investors in the corporate bond market has shifted significantly.
'But Gluskin Sheff's David Rosenberg pointed out in a client note Monday that the yield curve remained positively sloped then. It's still positively sloped now (although it's possible it can invert even with short-term interest rates near zero as they are today), and Rosenberg said he would use it as a forecasting tool today.'
'One of the possible explanations for the slowdown in payroll in growth in recent months is that the pool of labour has shrunk to the point where employers can't find the people they want to hire.'
'The 'McCulley indicator' -- which measures 'core' capex orders, or orders of capital goods excluding military orders and planes -- is now at its lowest level since 2009.'
'Developed and emerging markets, however, have moved in lockstep as the world has seen a widespread rebound in the last two months. But now, emerging markets are starting to look soft again.'
'In its latest global macro survey, Barclays found that the number of investors who think the Fed changing its policy stance is the biggest risk to the market is at a 2-year low.'
American jobs that serve Americans are growing faster than jobs that serve the rest of the world (November 5)
'Average hourly earnings grew 2.5% between October 2014 and October 2015, the highest growth rate we have seen since the Great Recession.'
'And despite seven years of zero-interest rates and quantitative easing, interest payments have climbed by nearly 40% since 2008. The rate of interest paid, however, has fallen to around 4% from nearly 6% since 2009.'
'A rising quit rate is understood to reflect increasing confidence among the workforce. And according to the new JOLTS report, quits continue to greatly outpace layoffs and discharges combined.'
'While this portion is elevated, stock buybacks remain overwhelmingly funded with internally generated funds rather than debt (net debt as % of total assets is near record lows).'
'According to a chart from Deutsche Bank, as sales and profit growth have retreated, companies' consistent purchases of their own shares have prevented earnings-per-share, or EPS, growth from going negative.'
Here's why you should have no qualms about demanding a raise if you work in construction (November 20)
'Average earnings in construction jobs have been running at around 2.5% this year, but if the following chart and commentary from Bank of America is any indication, wages in this sector are about to accelerate.'
'In warmer winters, Q1 data tends to skew higher than usual. Factor in the last two super cold winters, which made the previous two Q1's look worse than they might have been, and it could be double-y skewed higher this year.'
''Our work suggests that valuation is a poor short-term timing indicator, but the single-most important determinant of long-term returns,' Bank of America Merrill Lynch's Savita Subramanian said.'
'So as much as stocks tend to go up, they frequently also go down sharply. But those downturns are also followed by recoveries. And on net, the patient investor ends positive.'
'Via Deutsche Bank's Torsten Sløk, we find that nearly 20% of men between the ages of 25 and 34 live at home. As a point of comparison, about 12% of women this age are living at home.'
'''Our data, going back to 2006, show in every year except last, the bottom decile year to date performers entering December have not only outperformed the S&P 500 into February, but also outperformed the top performing decile,' O'Hara noted.'
'And now, China is facing an economic slowdown amid a government-sponsored shift towards the service sector and away from manufacturing, the 'Made in China' story is falling apart as Mexico and Brazil become more attractive for global manufacturers.'
'But as 'cool' as all of these buildings are, glitzy construction booms have historically coincided with the beginnings of economic downturns. In economics-speak, a record-breaking skyscraper may be a leading indicator of a downturn.'
'The chart, which comes to us from Deutsche Bank's Torsten Sløk, shows how employment in goods-producing industries -- think construction and manufacturing -- has rebounded but been mostly flat since the recession.
Meanwhile service sector employment, which includes a wide range of jobs like waiters, teachers, ad copywriters, and lawyers, has been surging.'
'In other words, you may know that earnings expectations will sour. But you may actually lose money trading on what may be correct information. This is why investing in stocks can be an incredibly frustrating exercise for even the most patient people.'
The market has gone nowhere this year, which could be great news for stocks in December (December 8)
''The eleven years when the market was basically unchanged through November (-2.5% to +2.5%), the market returned +3.2% in December with only one down December in 1934 (-.4%),' wrote O'Hara in a note to clients Tuesday.'
''As we believe we are entering a new regime of slowly rising rates and a stronger dollar, what worked the last 30 years is unlikely to be leadership in the new regime.''
'During a presentation on Thursday, Deutsche Bank's Chief International Economist Torsten Slok shared this chart, which he informally called, 'the central bank hall of shame.'
It picks on eight countries, whose central banks hike rates, only to cut rates once again soon after.'
'Importantly, the fed funds rate serves as a benchmark for interest rates around the world. So, the looming hike actually matters for regular people who are borrowing to buy cars and using credit cards in their everyday spending.'
'The effective rate has not yet responded to today's decision to raise the target rate, but will likely do so in the coming days as the Fed moves to implement that decision.'
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