Despite some end of year volatility, major indices rallied during the 4th quarter, with the S&P 500 up 11% and the Dow up 8%. For the full year, the S&P 500 was once again the best performer of the major world indices, returning 26.9% and recording 70 new record highs, the most since 1955. This was the third straight year of double-digit returns. The markets were once again driven by earnings growth. Heading into 2021, the market consensus was for year over year earnings growth of 22%. Incredibly, actual earnings grew 65% year over year, the largest upward revision since this data has been tracked starting in 1984. Record inflows into equity funds and a resurgence in stock buybacks also helped major U.S. indices.

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