While the last trading day of December and the year ended on a down note, with a 120-point loss for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the year was anything but a gloomy one.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed December with a loss of 0.4%. For the year, it was up 18.8%. The Nasdaq gained 4.3% in December and 43.9% for the year. The S&P 500 rose 0.6% for the month, and 23.5% for the year.

December was marked by some stabilization in both the U.S. dollar and gold prices. The dollar had been on a weakening trend for much of the year, but finally saw some revitalization this month. Gold prices soared to record highs in recent weeks, but took a step back in December as the dollar regained vigor. Heading into next year, the primary questions investors are asking will be: will the Federal Reserve hike rates? And if so, when and by how much? The answer could have a wide range of implications, particularly in the fixed-income space.

The top sectors in December were airlines, up 16.8%; natural gas, up 11.5%; semiconductors, up about 8%. The weakest performers this month were gold miners, down 14%; silver, down 11.9%; and Austria, down 10.4%.

To view our full December performance report, click here.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.