With just one trading day left this year, Wall Street’s major indices are on track to close 2021 at record highs as optimism over the global economy appears to have eased some of the uncertainty arising from the ongoing COVID health crisis.
Once again, as another year wraps up, we thought it might be fun to take a look at the highs and lows of tumultuous 2021 through the prism of Investing.com’s weekly comics.
Below, 30 comics and the events that stood out for markets during the past year.
Editor’s Note: All dates reflect when the comic was posted.
1. Biden Stimulus Hopes Lift Global Markets To Start Off 2021
Stimulus Optimism Lifts Markets
Global stocks rallied to start the year, with Wall Street’s major indices reaching fresh record highs amid market optimism surrounding U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus proposal.
Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States later that week.
2. Reddit Takes Wall Street By Storm As GameStop Shares Go On Wild Ride
GME’s Wild Ride
GameStop (NYSE:GME) set the market on fire early this year, getting a boost as part of the “Meme Stock” phenomenon driven by soaring popularity among young traders and retail investors on Reddit’s r/WallStreetBets forum and the Robinhood (NASDAQ:HOOD) platform.
The videogame retailer saw its shares enjoy a remarkable run, sparking the epic ‘meme stock’ trading frenzy.
3. Vaccines, Assemble!
Vaccines To The Rescue
Underpinned by a flood of stimulus measures and successful COVID-19 vaccine rollouts—led by Pfizer (NYSE:PFE)/BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX), and Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA)—global stocks continued their march higher amid the booming ‘reopening trade.’
Vaccines developed by AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX) and the Russian pharma industry all work in different ways, but all show high levels of efficacy.
4. Elon Musk Sends Bitcoin, Dogecoin Prices To The Moon
Musk Boosts Bitcoin, Dogecoin
Elon Musk sent prices of Bitcoin, and Dogecoin higher amid his growing appreciation for cryptocurrencies after it was revealed that Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) bought $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin and as he constantly pumps Dogecoin on Twitter (NYSE:TWTR).
5. Central Banks Spooked by Inflation
Specter Of Inflation Rocks Financial Regulators
Global financial markets got rocked, as the specter of inflation rattled its chains loudly, alarming investors and central bankers around the world.
A violent distortion of consumer spending patterns pushed up prices for a wide range of commodities and goods, exacerbated by disruptions to global supply chains.
6. Dousing The Fire In Chinese Markets
Party Officials Pour Cold Water On Overheated Chinese Markets
China’s financial markets took a tumble as the Communist Party intensified its crackdown aimed at reining in the influence and growing power of its thriving domestic internet companies.
Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) suffered the worst of it, becoming the subject of increased antitrust scrutiny by the Chinese government.
7. Fed’s Market-Friendly Policies Send Stocks Back Towards All-Time Highs!
Friendly Fed Polices Send Stocks Higher
U.S. stocks climbed to new records in a broad-based rally as investors bet on a recovery that is expected to deliver the fastest economic growth in almost 30 years amid the Federal Reserve’s market-friendly policies.
8. Hopefully Easter Brought Sweeter Days to Europe’s Lockdowns
Subdued Easter For Europe In Lockdown
Europe spent its second straight Easter almost completely locked down, celebrating the feast that most symbolizes the triumph of life over death in a profoundly subdued mood.
9. Stocks Extend Rally To New Records As S&P 500 Reaches Key Milestone
New Record For SPX As The Bull Run Continues
Stocks on Wall Street extended their rally, with the S&P 500 climbing above the 4,000-level for the first time in history amid ongoing optimism over the economic outlook.
Driven by signs of a strong economic rebound, investors increasingly piled into ‘reopening stocks’ during the recent rally.
10. Commodities—Streaking Ahead!
Commodities Keep Advancing
Growing optimism about the global economy has fueled a spectacular rally in a wide range of raw materials, underlining talk of a new commodities supercycle.
Copper prices jumped to their best level in 10 years, while corn, soybeans, and wheat traded near their highest in eight years. Lumber futures also soared, notching a series of record closes in recent weeks.
11. Tech Selloff Weighs On Stocks As Market Slides To 1-Month Lows
Tech Shares Tumble
Worries over soaring inflation and rising bond yields sparked a selloff in fast-growing technology stocks, with investors instead piling into value names, which are typically companies that are more sensitive to economic cycles and can hold up better in an environment where inflation may be heating up.
12. Cheers! It’s springtime for Sterling
Springtime For Sterling
The clouds over the U.K. economy appeared to finally be lifting as Prime Minister Boris Johnson relaxed limits on social gatherings, including easing lockdown restrictions on pubs, theatres, museums, concert halls and gyms.
The country and its currency the pound sterling recovered impressively from an initially shambolic reaction to the COVID-19 disaster.
13. Leading Cryptocurrencies Tumble After Parabolic Rise
The cryptocurrency market suffered a steep correction, with prices of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin leading losses following their parabolic rise to new all-time highs.
The plunge began after China announced new crypto regulations and trading restrictions, while the U.S. called for stricter compliance with the IRS to crack down on tax evasion.
14. AMC Squeeze Sparks Another Massive ‘Meme Stock’ Rally
AMC Short Squeeze Shenanigans Spark Rally
AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC) took the market by storm thanks to its ‘meme stock’ status driven by soaring popularity amongst young retail traders on social media.
AMC stock—which started the year at $2.12—soared all the way to a record high of $72.62 on June 2.
15. Turkish Lira Makes All-Time Lows as Erdogan Demands Lower Rates
Turkish Lira Plunges
The Turkish lira plunged to a record low against the U.S. dollar amid the reckless low-rate policy set out by President Tayyip Erdogan, sparking one of Turkey’s worst currency crises in history.
16. Crude Oil Jumps To $70 – Is $100 Not Too Far?
Oil Price Heats Up
Energy stocks have been on a tear, with the latest boost coming from surging oil prices, which recently jumped to their highest level in almost three years, around $75 per barrel.
The ongoing rally sparked renewed bets that crude prices could once again reach the key psychological $100 per barrel mark—a level not seen since before the crash of late 2014.
17. COVID Second Wave Ends, Round Three Begins!
COVID Round 3
Global stocks came under pressure amid renewed concerns about an upsurge in infections of the Delta coronavirus variant, as the U.S. and Europe grapple with a renewed burst of cases more than 18 months into the pandemic.
18. Is Inflation Here To Stay Or Is It Just Transitory?
Is US Inflation Just Transitory?
While Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell continued to downplay prospects of rising inflation, calling it ‘transitory,’ many Fed officials have at least begun to publicly acknowledge that the time to talk about policy changes might be approaching.
19. Fed Taper Chatter Grows As Powell Prepares For Jackson Hole
Taper Chatter Escalates Ahead of Jackson Hole Symposium
Fed officials have said they would consider tapering their quantitative easing program amid signs of rising inflation and an improving economy, with markets expecting an announcement at the Fed’s annual Jackson Hole symposium.
20. China’s Tech Sector Feels The Heat From Beijing
China Tech Sector Scrutiny Builds
China’s major tech companies such as Alibaba, Tencent (OTC:TCEHY), and Didi Global (NYSE:DIDI) saw their shares hit new lows amid an ongoing campaign by Beijing to crack down on the country’s tech giants that have grown to become some of the most valuable in the world.
21. Market Volatility Picks Up Amid Fed Tapering Plans, Debt Ceiling Deadlock, China Fears
Tapering, Debt Ceiling Deadlock, China Fears Roil Markets
Global stock markets experienced an intense bout of volatility as fears surrounding the Fed’s tapering plans and deadlocked U.S. debt ceiling negotiations weighed on sentiment.
Adding to the negative mood is ongoing concern about increasing Chinese official regulation in sectors ranging from technology, fintech and education.
22. Fed Taper Fears, U.S. Debt Ceiling Drama, China Risks Hammer Stocks In September
Array Of Catalysts Hammer Markets
Stocks around the world wobbled in September.
The Fed’s tapering agenda and debt ceiling drama are top of mind, with investors also focusing on soaring inflation, rising bond yields, and liquidity issues with heavily indebted Chinese property developer China Evergrande Group (OTC:EGRNY).
23. Energy Rally Fuels Inflation Fears As Stocks Kick Off October With Losses
Energy Rally Increases Inflation Fears
October got off to a rocky start in global markets as a furious rally in crude oil and natural gas prices, which both jumped to their best levels in years, fueled inflation fears.
24. All Aboard The Bus To Higher Rates
Global Central Bankers Start To Tighten
After being confined to emerging markets for much of 2021, the trend of rising interest rates reached advanced economies.
Norway, New Zealand, South Korea and Iceland all raised their key rates since August. The next, it seems almost certain, will be the U.K.
25. Bitcoin Takes Wall Street By Storm As ETF Launch Powers Record-Breaking Rally
Launch Of First Bitcoin ETF Powers Token To New ATH
Bitcoin prices soared to a new all-time high near $69,000 as the buzz in the crypto market gained steam amid the launch of the first Bitcoin exchange-traded fund, the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (NYSE:BITO).
26. Fed Starts To Taper As Inflation Fears Grow
Fed Tapering Begins
The Federal Reserve finally announced the tapering of its $120 billion-per-month bond-buying program.
The U.S. central bank trimmed its purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities purchases by $15 billion a month.
27. Will COVID Steal Christmas in Europe?
Will The Coronavirus Grinch Steal Christmas In Europe?
Another winter, another COVID surge in Europe. The sense of déjà vu is powerful, but probably not as worrying as it seems. With 70% of the continent vaccinated, any slowdown due to public health measures over the next couple of months should be brief and shallow.
28. Renewed Virus, Inflation Fears Rattle Markets
Omicron, Inflation, Accelerating Rates Rattle Markets
Stocks on Wall Street wobbled at the start of December, with market sentiment dominated by uncertainty around the Federal Reserve’s policy tightening path as well as the impact of the newly detected Omicron coronavirus variant.
29. Dip Buyers Save The Day As Stocks Head Back Towards Record Highs
Dip Buyers Save The Day On Wall St.
Global stocks staged a rebound, with the benchmark S&P 500 closing at yet another new record peak—in total the index reached 70 all-time highs in 2021—as dip buyers returned to save the day.
30. Global Stocks Wrap Up Another Excellent Year
…And That’s A Wrap On 2021. Here’s To 2022
Despite risks related to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy plans and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, 2021 was another excellent year for US and global stocks across the board.