Here's a fun fact: The stock market, as measured by the S&P 500 (SPX), had its strongest performance this year since the Wolf of Wall Street roamed lower Manhattan.
The broad market gauge has gained 29.6% in 2013, its biggest jump since 1997 -- the year before Jordan Belfort, the hard-partying founder of brokerage firm Stratton Oakmont, was indicted for securities fraud and money laundering.
Belfort, who served nearly two years in prison for his schemes, was the inspiration for Martin Scorsese's new film about Wall Street excess.
The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) had its best year since 1998. The blue chip index gained 26.5% this year, hitting 52 all-time highs along the way. And the Nasdaq (COMP) surged 38%, marking its best year since 2009.
The big winners this year were last year's dogs. Netflix (NFLX), a stock that took a beating in 2012, surged nearly 300%, making it the top performer in the S&P 500. Another company that many left for dead, BestBuy (BBY), came roaring back to life. The stock more than doubled in 2013.
Of course, there were some stinkers too. J.C. Penney (JCP) was the worst performing stock in the S&P 500 until it was booted from the index in November. The stock fell 54% this year.
Officially, the worst performing S&P 500 stock was Newmont Mining (NEM), which sank 50%. The gold mining company was hit by the bursting of a bubble in the gold market. Gold prices fell nearly 30%, their biggest drop since 1981 and the first annual decline for the precious metal since 2000.
Much of the money fleeing the gold market may have found its way into stocks.
Investors put $348.63 billion into stock-based mutual funds and exchange traded funds in 2013, according to data from TrimTabs. That's the largest ever annual inflow and comes after several years of investors pulling money out of these funds.
While investors were making it rain in the stock market, they were running away from bonds.
Investors pulled out $72 billion from bond mutual funds this year through the first week of December, according to TrimTabs.
That's the first time in nearly a decade that investors have taken more money out of bond funds than they've put in -- and it tops the previous record from 1994, when investors withdrew almost $63 billion.
Despite the magnitude of this year's gains, there has been virtually no volatility in stocks. There were only three days when the Dow rose more than 1.5%, according to Schaeffer's Investment Research. In 2012, there were 14.
"I don't know if boring is the right word for a bull market, but we haven't had a lot of fireworks this year," said Ryan Detrick, chief technical strategist at Schaeffer's.
The smooth sailing and record highs helped drive a spike in initial public offerings. In 2013, a total of 222 companies went public in deals that raised nearly $55 billion.
Another sign of the almost universally bullish sentiment, CNNMoney's Fear & Greed index was above the level signaling greed or extreme greed 60% of the time in 2013.
Had a cordial dinner with Tim last night. We pushed hard for a 150 billion buyback. We decided to continue dialogue in about three weeks.—
Carl Icahn (@Carl_C_Icahn) October 01, 2013
So, where does the market go from here? For now, most experts say stocks can go even higher, assuming the economy continues to improve and corporate profits keep rising.
Predicting the future is a tricky business, however.
Back in January, analysts surveyed by CNNMoney expected the S&P 500 would rise 4.5% in 2013 to end at 1,490. That was an understatement.
But stocks are certainly not as cheap as they were a year ago.
With stock prices at all-time highs, market valuations have gone from what is considered cheap to slightly expensive. The S&P 500 currently trades at nearly 15 times next year's earnings estimates, up from about 12 at the beginning of 2013.
Facebook shares rallied an impressive 30% Thursday, allowing the stock to book its best one-day gain ever. And while shares remain about 10% below the May 2012 IPO price of $38, analysts are predicting that Facebook is finally on its way to reaching, and even crossing, that threshold.
"Facebook delivered its strongest quarter yet as a public company -- results that we think could be thesis-changing for many," said Doug Anmuth, a MOREHibah Yousuf - Jul 25, 2013 4:03 PM ET
Noodles & Co. must be carbo-loading. Shares of the casual restaurant chain have been on quite the run since making their public debut last week.
The stock more than doubled on Friday -- its first trading day -- and is up another 25% Tuesday thanks to kind words from CNBC's Jim Cramer on his Monday evening show. The Mad Money host said that Noodles & Co. (NDLS), which offers dishes ranging from MOREHibah Yousuf - Jul 2, 2013 3:06 PM ET
Tesla's stock soared into record territory Monday after the electric car maker received another upgrade from Wall Street analysts.
Tesla (TSLA) shares ended the day at a record $117.18, gaining more than 9%.
The rally came after analysts at Jefferies raised their price target to $130, saying the company is likely to report stronger-than-expected sales of the new Model S this year.
Tesla's stock price has exploded. It's gained a whopping 240% in the past MOREBen Rooney - Jul 1, 2013 4:45 PM ET
Federal law enforcement officials arrested a Florida man Tuesday for allegedly defrauding investors by telling them he had access to shares of Facebook before its initial public offering.
The U.S. Attorney's office in New York said Craig Berkman, 71, received a total of $8 million from investors who thought they were investing in Facebook (FB) prior to the social network's IPO last year.
Berkman also allegedly misled investors about his access to MOREBen Rooney - Mar 19, 2013 3:49 PM ET
In the biggest IPO since Facebook, animal health company Zoetis generated strong demand from investors early Friday.
Shares of Zoetis (ZTS) surged as much as 22% in its debut on the New York Stock Exchange.
The company, which spun off from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (PFE), sold 86.1 million shares at $26 apiece late Thursday. The stock traded as high as $31.74 before easing slightly but still remained above the IPO price.
The offering MOREBen Rooney - Feb 1, 2013 10:52 AM ET
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) sailed more than 30% above its initial public offering prices when its shares debuted on the Nasdaq (NDAQ) Friday.
The third largest cruise ship operator in North America sold 23.5 million shares for $19 apiece -- slightly better than the estimated range of $16 to $18.
Norwegian Cruise Line plans to use part of the $446 million it raised to pay down some of its $3.1 billion MOREMaureen Farrell - Jan 18, 2013 11:49 AM ET
Facebook (FB) stock rallied nearly 4% Wednesday, crossing $30 a share for the first time in six months.
The social network sent media invitations late Tuesday for an event at its Menlo Park, Calif. headquarters on January 15. The invitation called for reporters to "Come and see what we're building," fueling speculation that the company will make a major product announcement.
Hitting $30.28 Wednesday, the highest level since mid-July, shares of Facebook are MOREHibah Yousuf - Jan 9, 2013 12:48 PM ET
SolarCity (SCTY) is shining on its first day of trading.
In its debut on Nasdaq (NDAQ) Friday, SolarCity closed 47% above its $8-a-share initial public offering price.
To get that pop, SolarCity was forced to scale back its expectations. The company had originally tried to price its offering between $13 and $15, which would have given it a valuation close to $1 billion, and raised $141 million.
Even though the company upped MOREMaureen Farrell - Dec 13, 2012 12:50 PM ET
YY, the first Chinese company to brave the U.S. initial public offering market since April, was expected to meet a wary investor base Wednesday. Yet YY's (YY) stock managed to rise 10% in its debut on Nasdaq (NDAQ).
A Chinese Internet social media platform with a focus on gaming and video chats, YY, priced its offering at $10.50, the low end of its expected range. The company raised $82 million for MOREMaureen Farrell - Nov 21, 2012 11:04 AM ET
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