2017 Market Performance: Crypto vs. Stocks
When looking across the globe, there were plenty of strong performing equity markets in 2017. Nevertheless, none compare to the massive appreciation seen within the cryptocurrency sector.
Warning: If you are primarily an equity investor, you may soon be compelled to enter the world of cryptocurrencies as the relative outperformance of the top cryptocurrencies in 2017, when compared to equity markets, was astronomical.
The top-performing stock market last year (excluding Venezuela with a 3,884 percent gain due to rampant inflation) was Zimbabwe with a 117.7 percent advance, while the top cryptocurrency Ripple, left Zimbabwe in the dust with an eye-popping 28,963 percent return. Ripple ended 2016 at $0.0065 and by Dec. 31, 2017 had risen to $2.25.
By the end of 2017 Ripple has overtaken Ethereum as the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, at $77.1 bln and $72.9 bln, respectively. Although still far behind Bitcoin’s approximately $248.3 bln market capitalization, they are rising fast. The market capitalization of Ripple is up approximately 31,637 percent from a year ago and Ethereum has increased around 1,300 percent. A distant third is Bitcoin, up 447 percent over the past 12 months.
Top stock market performance 2017
As you can see in the following table, Top Stock Market Performance 2017, relatively high returns came from less developed and emerging stock markets such as Argentina with a 77.7 percent return, Mongolia which rose by 68.9 percent, and Kazakhstan, climbing by 59.3 percent. Of course, for most investors, there are barriers to accessing these stock markets. That may be one of the reason’s global investors have taken a liking to cryptocurrencies as they are global, can be accessed and traded 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Major developed equity markets
In major developed stock markets, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index led the way with a 36 percent return, followed by India’s BSE Sensex 30, up 27.9 percent. The Hang Seng ended December at 29,919.15, close to the high for the year, and the second highest monthly closing price ever, second only to the record high peak from November 2007 of 31,958.41.
Since 2009 low the Hang Seng has been progressing higher in an ascending parallel trend channel. The index is now heading towards the top channel line, which will put it in the area to test resistance around the 2007 highs. That’s only 6 percent or so higher. It’s interesting to note that the Hang Seng has only had one down month during 2017, a testament to its strength.
Bottom stock market performance
Of course, not all stock markets were bullish last year, but the worst performers were relatively smaller exchanges. The bottom performing market for 2017 was the Sarajevo Stock Exchange. It ended the year down 18.5 percent to close at 562. Coming in second was the Qatar Exchange Index, with a loss of 18.3 percent, followed by the Karachi Stock Exchange Index, which dropped by 15.3 percent. Qatar, of course, has been negatively impacted by an economic blockade since June spearheaded by Saudi Arabia with support from other Arabian Gulf countries.
Cryptocurrencies: 2017 performance
This next chart shows the performance of the five of the larger cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC/USD). The cryptocurrencies shown in this chart and the accompanying table further down, is not comprehensive and is chosen as a sample of the more popular and widely traded cryptocurrencies.
It is interesting to see that the cryptocurrencies shown all started to accelerate higher around early-November, except for Ripple (XRP/USD). Ripple was late to the party but doesn’t seem to be losing any time making up for the slow start. You can see how it has been rising rapidly recently while the other major cryptos start to pullback. For the month of December Ripple has advanced more than 700 percent. The Ripple token is used to facilitate global payments by banks and other financial institutions.
Following the strong performance of Ripple is Dash (DASH/USD). Dash was up at least 9,400 percent for 2017 through Dec. 31. Dash broke out of a 32-month base into new high territory in February and has barely looked back. Over the past 10 months, since the breakout, Dash as advanced as much as 10,584 percent, as of its recent high of $1,595.76 reached in December. So far, since reaching that high, Dash has moved into a pullback, falling as much as 51 percent before bouncing.