Leaders and laggards in 2015
As the year winds down, it's natural to take stock of which investments were leaders and which were laggards in 2014.
It's also timely to look ahead at 2015 and try to discern what will be the best and worst investment ideas then.
This year, U.S. stocks have thrived, despite a correction in September and October, boosted by strong earnings growth and continued monetary stimulus from the Federal Reserve. The Standard & Poor's 500 index generated a total return of 10.35 percent year to date through Nov. 14.
Bonds have been a surprise winner, with the Barclays Aggregate U.S. bond index generating a return of 5.19 percent during that period.
Meanwhile, gold and oil have slumped, with the former dropping 1.8 percent, according to Bloomberg, and the latter (U.S. WTI prices) falling 18.2 percent.
As for next year, all eyes will be on the Fed to see if and when it will begin to raise interest rates. Investment experts are bullish on international stocks, U.S. small-cap stocks, master limited partnerships and liquid alternative strategies and bearish on Treasury bonds, gold and high-yield, fixed-income investments.