2016 began as 2015 ended with oil prices and stock prices falling. Oil (WTI Crude Oil) began 2016 at $37.13 a barrel and bottomed on February 11th at $26.21, a decline of 29% in just six weeks. The S&P 500 began the year at 2044 and fell to 1829 by February 11th (yes, the same day oil bottomed), a decline of 11 %. Fortunately, both the oil market and the stock market stabilized quickly and both had reached their beginning of the year levels by the second week of March.
The referendum in Great Britain in June 2016 whether or not Great Britain would remain in the European Union or vote to exit was viewed as either a solidifier of the EU or the first step to its demise. All polls showed a major advantage to the stay vote, but as we would find out more than once in 2016, pollsters did not have the pulse of the voters. The citizens in Great Britain voted against the establishment, against the recommendation of their Prime Minister, and against staying in the European Union. The stock market sold off 6% in two days, but then recovered fully within three days, to finish up just over 4% year-to-date through June 30.