1. The Trump Inauguration
There were battles between President Donald Trump and reality over the official size of the crowd. But in the end, the only things that mattered were the stock market and GDP, and whether they went up or down. From Jan. 20 to Nov. 3, the Dow Jones added 18.7% to a post-election surge that has investors cheering. Third-quarter GDP hit 3%, topping economists’ expectations. The jobless rate sits at the lowest level since 2000. Consumer sentiment is also at the highest level in nearly two decades. This data is either the sign of a prolonged rally or the harbinger of a future downturn.
3. Xi Jinping Seizes Control
It seems that no one in the mainstream press wants to admit it, but China has won without firing a single shot. Chinese President Xi Jinping walked away from the 19th Communist Party Congress as the most powerful person in the country since Mao Zedong. In a 3.5 hour speech to start the event, Xi cheered his nation’s growing influence on the global stage and its increasing presence in the South China Sea. He also called for a stronger military and… gulp… for China to control Taiwan.
4. Amazon Buys Whole Foods
The most important merger of 2017 will be Amazon’s (AMZN) purchase of Whole Foods. In fact, it likely will be the most important corporate takeover of the decade. The $13.7 billion deal is just a harbinger of Amazon’s future expansion into a wealth of other industries. The question, of course, is whether Washington will ever step in and break up the company. Amazon’s growth pattern is similar to a death star eating everything that comes into its path.