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The Year in U.S. Equity Funds: Resilient in a Tumultuous 2016

In a year of unexpected events, U.S. stocks rose again with small caps outperforming for the first time since 2013.

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From the fear-induced sell-off in January and February amid plunging oil prices, to the United Kingdom's Brexit vote in June, to the U.S. presidential election outcome in November, 2016 has been full of unexpected events. Still, U.S. stocks have proved resilient, as the S&P 500 was up 13.2% for the year to date through Dec. 23. For the first time since 2013, the small-cap-oriented Russell 2000 Index--which was up 22.5% for the year to date--is expected to outpace the S&P 500.

Energy and basic-materials stocks have led the way within the broad Russell 3000 Index in 2016, both climbing more than 23% after being the two worst-performing sectors from 2013 through 2015. Commodity prices fell sharply in recent years amid excess oil supply and global growth concerns, but they have trended upward since hitting their trough in early 2016.

Andrew Daniels has a position in the following securities mentioned above: BHC, CMG. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.

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