With just a few remaining weeks on the year, the Nasdaq stands nearly even to where it closed last year, The tech-heavy index is down 0.2% for the year, well below the Dow Jones' 5.2% year-to-date gain. However, while the Nasdaq has effectively treaded water this year, its breakeven performance hides the wild market swings and turbulence that have defined the market.
Below is a graphic detailing some of the high, lows, and more notable events that defined the Nasdaq and broader tech sector this year:
After early gains in the year, the "turbulence" around tech stocks peaked in mid-summer. In August, the average trading day saw swings of 1.9% in either direction, the 10th most volatile trading month in the last 75 years.
That volatility and surrounding debate around the United States debt standoff led to a high level of uncertainty. In turn, that uncertainty led to companies crimping IT budgets. If sales forecasts for the coming quarters suddenly look in doubt, that large capital outlay to a company's IT department is one of the first areas to be cut.
So for a few tense summer and fall months, technology companies took one on the chin. However, with better visibility and business spending in technology quickly rebounding, the tech market has seen a healthy -- yet erratic -- recovery from the lows of the summer.
Tech companies continue posting record earnings, and business investment in technology equipment is at record levels. Even if the short-term forecast is continued turbulence, the long-term outlook on technology is surprisingly positive. Best of all for investors, all this at a time when P/E levels on leading firms are at record lows.
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