2022 may go down in history as one of the most difficult years for investors. We always say that past performance doesn’t predict future results, and 2022 proved why: Many of the historical relationships between asset classes broke down last year.

While that sometimes created a feeling of “no safe place to hide,” there were still winners in 2022. Since hindsight is 20/20 (or in this case, 20/22), let’s take a look at the biggest losers and winners from last year, plus a few assets that skated through on neutral.

2022 Losers


The S&P 500 index fell 18.11% in 2022. Every single sector lost value with the exception of energy and utilities. The EAFE index, which primarily tracks large- and mid-cap companies in Europe, Australia, and the Far East, fell 14.01%. The stock market hates uncertainty and had uncertainty to spare, including runaway inflation, the war in Ukraine, mid-term elections, a supply chain hurt by China's COVID policies, and the overarching possibility of recession.


The Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond index fell 13.01% for the year thanks to Federal Reserve rate hikes intended to combat inflation.

The relationship between stocks and bonds

Correlation refers to the relationship between two assets. Historically, stocks and bonds tended to move opposite each other; in other words, they were negatively correlated. Stocks tend to increase along with the economy—expanding profits, strong demand, and reliable supply chains. In short, stocks often represent optimism. Bonds, on the other hand, tend to represent pessimism—a “just give me my interest payments and don’t go bankrupt” mentality. In 2022, both stocks and bonds went down, pausing the relationship.

Growth stocks

Growth stocks—or companies whose earnings are expected to grow at a faster pace than the overall market—did particularly badly in 2022. The Russell 1000 Growth Index, which tracks growth stocks, fell 29.14% (more than the overall market and more than other types of stocks, which we’ll cover in the winners section).


Crypto all but collapsed in 2022, with so-called “stable coins” struggling, such as Terra losing $60 billion in value seemingly overnight to Celsius filing for bankruptcy. That’s before we even get into the spectacular implosion of crypto exchange FTX and the alleged fraud of its founder, Sam Bankman Fried. The unregulated and decentralized nature of crypto, once viewed as a benefit, now looks a lot like a systemic risk.

2022 Neutral


Gold failed to keep its title as inflation hedged in 2022, falling 0.74% in 2022. While that’s a better performance than stocks and bonds, most investors expected more out of gold given inflation topped 9% at its peak last year.

Private equity

Investments in private equity were relatively flat in 2022. That’s notable given most of the activity that comprises private equity—mergers, acquisitions, and IPOs—was down for the year.

2022 Winners

The dollar

While inflation may be eating away at the purchasing power of the greenback, it’s still a winner relative to other currencies. The U.S. Dollar Index rose 8.18% in 2022. A strong dollar means it’s cheaper to travel internationally and import foreign goods. On the flip side, any companies that earn revenue overseas make less when sales are converted to U.S. dollars.

Money market funds

The Fed Funds Rate—the rate that banks charge each other for overnight lending—began the year at 0.0-0.25%. It ended the year ranging from 4.25-4.5% thanks to 4.25% of rate hikes. As a result, money market funds and short-term CDs paid significantly higher rates last year, making cash management more important.

Oil and energy stocks

The war in Ukraine drove oil up 51.69% in 2022. Energy stocks in the U.S. jumped 64.17% as well, reflecting rising demand and constrained supply in the sector.


Value stocks—or companies whose share prices appear to be trading for less than their intrinsic or book value—outperformed growth stocks in 2022. Keep in mind, value tends to include energy and health care stocks, which performed better than the broader market.

Private credit

Private credit, also known as direct lending, grew in popularity in 2022 as stock market volatility increased. Private lenders extended credit to middle-market companies—those that earn between $10 million and $1 billion in annual revenue.

Commercial real estate

Commercial real estate fell as a sector last year as employers reevaluated whether they needed office space in the new work-from-home era. However, a number of commercial real estate funds designed to have minimal exposure to office space did well in 2022. These funds have concentrated on the logistics, biomedical, and multifamily sectors, which held up well in 2022.

To see whether these trends continue in 2023, be sure to check our monthly emails for market updates.