Year in Review: The Biggest Financial Headlines of 2016

From Brexit to the Wells Fargo scandal, these business stories defined 2016.

By John Divine| Us World News & Report Staff Writer

The year 2016 did not want for financial news. A comprehensive accounting of the business stories that broke over the last 12 months could fill a book – but since most people would rather move on with their lives and see what 2017 has in store, a brief recap is probably more appropriate.

With that said, here's a quick glance at the top financial headlines of 2016.

Macro events

The stock market got off to its worst two-week start ever. Stoked by concerns over China's slowing economy and its depreciating currency, Wall Street began 2016 in a bona fide death spiral; major indices took about a 10 percent haircut in the first two weeks of trading, setting a record.

The plunge of oil and its resultant rally. While the stock market plunged, so did oil price. Both ultimately recovered from the early stumble, but that wasn't an obvious outcome at the time.
"The worldwide oversupply of oil resulted in significant price swings from approximately $100 per barrel in the third quarter of 2014 to below $30 in early 2016," according to Dean Price, a partner at Opportune LLP. "The rebound above $50 per barrel can be attributed to supply rebalancing and the recent OPEC announcement to reduce output in 2017."
Brexit. In June, a major financial event took place. The U.K. voted to leave the European Union in a shocking referendum, causing mass confusion about the future of European trade, the value of the British pound and Britain's financial institutions. U.S. markets swiftly fell, then rallied to regain their losses.
A soft IPO market. 2016 was the worst year for IPOs since 2003, with money raised through new issues down about 40 percent.

"There's no question the IPO market is softer," says Jonathan Gertler, CEO and managing partner of Back Bay Life Science Advisors. "There's volatility in our economy. There was an exuberant market that drove valuations exceedingly high," specifically in the biotech industry.

"There's also a lot of uncertainty right now in the world," he says. Uncertainty, as a rule, is never good for stocks. Especially not high-risk stocks, such as newly public below to read the full article.

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