No doubt 2011 was a challenging year for traders and investors. The Dow Jones industrials finished the year sporting a 5.5% gain. The NASDAQ Composite Index closed down about 1.8%. And, amazingly, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ended almost exactly flat.
To be precise, the change was four one-hundredths of a point: 1,257.60 compared with 1,257.64 in 2010. The percentage change was 0.0032% and is nearly the index's smallest change -- positively or negatively -- ever.
That the changes for the major averages would be so small may be hard to believe in a year that saw the major averages rise more than 8% by April 29 and then fall 17% or more from those levels by early October. Below is a list of broad asset returns for 2011.
Combined, the 20 asset classes benchmarked above returned a total loss of (–2.72%) for 2011. In contrast, our broad market portfolio (shown below) had a positive 2011 return of 3.12%, while our individual stock portfolio returned 38.34% for a combined average total return of 20.73%.
PORTFOLIO RETURNS: CHART-CAST PILOT