Global stocks rallied amid a synchronized world economic recovery, strong corporate earnings growth and aggressive central bank stimulus measures. Elections in France, Germany and Japan helped restore stability to previously struggling economies, while political infighting in the U.S. and elsewhere was essentially ignored by resilient financial markets.
Numerous indexes achieved record highs during the year, driven by big gains in cyclical sectors. Information technology stocks outpaced every other sector by a wide margin, followed by the materials and industrials sectors. Emerging markets stocks generated the strongest returns, supported by tech-sector gains and rising commodities prices.
Equity Index Returns (%)