If you didn't have a banner year on the investing front in 2017, you really have to ask yourself: what in the world went wrong!?

Stocks across many sectors enjoyed healthy gains in 2017 as investors deemed valuations as attractive. The sex appeal of stocks was boosted by a concoction of strong corporate earnings growth, headline-grabbing M&A activity and expectations around corporate tax reform

TheStreet runs down how the hottest topics performed this year. Bring on 2018.

FAANG Stocks

It was hard to go wrong trading this acronym in 2017. Average share price gain for the group was 48%. 

  • Facebook (FB) : +53.5%
  • Apple (AAPL) : +46.2%
  • Amazon (AMZN) : +56%
  • Netflix (NFLX) : +55.1%
  • Alphabet (Google) (GOOGL) : +33%

Major Stock Indices

A year of waiting for tax reform and buoyant corporate earnings lit flames under all of the major stock market averages. S&P 500 sales and earnings are seen rising 6.2% and 9.6%, respectively, in 2017 according to Factset.

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: +25.2%
  • S&P 500: +19.7%
  • Nasdaq Composite: +28.2%
  • Russell 2000: +13%
  • Wilshire 5000: +18%

The Big-Name IPOs

Not every attention-grabbing IPO was well-received in 2017. Here is how shares of several buzzy IPOs performed since the close of their first day of trading. The Renaissance IPO ETF (IPO) , which measures the performance of newly listed companies, rose 36.6% in 2017.  

  • Snap Inc. (SNAP) : -40.3%
  • Roku (ROKU) : +120.4%
  • Blue Apron (APRN) : -59.6%
  • Stitch Fix (SFIX) : +70.3%
  • Canada Goose (GOOS) : +96.4%

Bank Stocks

The bank stocks started to take-off in early June as it became clear the Federal Reserve would stay the course with its interest rate hikes. Investors in banks have had no reason to look back since, enjoying a rip-roaring end to 2017. Also helping the investment case on banks: strong M&A activity and a return of solid capital return plans. 

  • JPMorgan & Chase (JPM) : +24.6%
  • Bank of America (BAC) : +33.5%
  • Citigroup (C) : +25.3%
  • Goldman Sachs (GS) : +6.7%
  • Morgan Stanley (MS) : +24.6%

The Big Pending Deals

The year ends with several huge deals still waiting to be closed for whatever reason. AT&T (T) is trying to convince the government (and Trump...) it should be allowed to buy Time Warner (TWX) . Qualcomm (QCOM) is attempting thwart an unfriendly takeover approach by Broadcom (AVGO) . And Disney (DIS) is readying its crack at closing a deal for certain Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA) assets. 

Although one could argue the raw numbers on M&A activity lacks the punch felt in the headlines. Global deal value reached $3.7 trillion in 2017, down 4.1% from last year, according to Dealogic. U.S. deal value clocked in at $1.5 trillion vs. $1.7 trillion a year earlier. It marked the second straight annual decline, Dealogic data shows.

  • AT&T and Time Warner: -8.3%/-5.1%
  • Qualcomm and Broadcom: -1.8%/+45.4%
  • Disney and Twentieth Century Fox: +3.6%/+23.4%

Around the Horn

Then there are those stocks or assets that were part of our daily discussions that just deserve to stand on their own. 

U.S. dollar: With a combination of easy monetary policy and uncertainy on the U.S. debt outlook in the wake of tax reform, it's no surprise the U.S. dollar index dropped 9.8% in 2017.

Nvidia: What a monster year for graphics chip maker Nvidia (NVDA) . Shares surged 81.5% as it continued to prove it's a major player in the future of technology. 

Gold prices: Talk about an under the radar move as the world has been focused on bitcoin. Gold price finished 2017 up 10.3%.

Sears: Dying department store Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) had another dreadful year. Shares crashed 61.2%. It's unsure if Sears will even have a 2018 holiday season. Sears CEO Eddie Lampert also went on a rampage against the media this year.

Walmart: Whereas Sears continued to die, Walmart (WMT) continued to prove it could whip Amazon's tail. Shares of the world's largest retailer finished the year up 43.2%.

Oil prices: Prices for brent crude oil were on a downtrend until late June. As it became apparent in the summer that OPEC would stay committed to reducing the U.S. oil glut, prices hit a high gear. Brent crude oil rose 5.3% in 2017, supported by a strengthening U.S. economy as well. 

Bitcoin prices: Bitcoin prices were all over the map in 2017, trying desperately to break through the $20,000 mark. Prices as of the last stock trading day of 2017 were $14,607 per coin, up 1,365% year to date. 

Tesla: At two points this year, it seemed as if Tesla's (TSLA) stock would never come down. Shares rocketed to an all-time high of $386.99 on June 23, then slipped to the low $300s by early July. By Sept. 18, the stock hit a new all-time high of $389.61. Shares finished the year up 49.7%.

Facebook, Apple, Alphabet, Citigroup and Nvidia are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells these stocks? Learn more now.

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