At the start of the year, Wall Street forecasts called for the stock market to rise a few percentage points — a humble performance by recent years' standards.
Then the summer came. China stumbled, stocks tumbled and some analysts were openly worrying about the prospect of a new bear market.
The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average plunged into correction territory, down well more than 10% for the year. So, too, did the broader Standard & Poor's 500 and the Nasdaq Composite indexes. Analysts expected the first down year for all three since the Great Recession.
Since those August lows, however, the major stock indexes have quietly crept back and, despite a...