The 2017 Nasdaq return was +27.24% calculated from the price index. Using a better calculation which factors in dividend reinvestment, the Nasdaq returned +28.62% in 2017.
The 2017 Nasdaq Return: Reinvest Your Dividends
The above numbers assume you bought the Nasdaq index on January 3rd, 2017, and sold at close on December 29, 2017. The numbers for buying at the December 30, 2016, closing price are +28.24% and +29.64%, respectively.
Here are the price returns on the index:
|Jan 3, 2017 Start||5425.62||6903.39||27.24%|
|Dec 30, 2016 End||5383.12||6903.39||28.24%|
Here are the Nasdaq dividend reinvested returns:
|Dividend Reinvested Return||Open||Close||Gain|
|Jan 3, 2017 Start||6169.49||7935.29||28.62%|
|Dec 30, 2016 End||6121.12||7935.29||29.64%|
Traditionally, the Nasdaq has been a technology-heavy index. Further, technology companies have a growth bias and tend to pay out fewer dividends than other economic sectors.
That important caveat aside, Nasdaq firms do pay dividends; depending on your choice of start date, reinvesting would have added around 1.4% to your annual return in 2017. That's not nothing - 1.4% is an additional 74.4% over an average 40-year career. (As an aside, it's also a reminder to minimize the fees you pay.)
Once again, dividends matter. Even with a tech-heavy index.
Source on the 2017 Nasdaq Return Calculations
These numbers come from Nasdaq Indexes. They also have a number of specialized indexes - biotechnology, big companies, and the like.
We can't match the number of additional resources we listed in the 2017 S&P 500 Return and 2017 Dow Jones Return posts for the Nasdaq. However, in 2014, we estimated how buying the peak of the Tech bubble in 1999-2000 would have turned out.
We also compared the technology bubble to the (since deflated) Shanghai Composite Bubble.
The 2017 Nasdaq Return
You can find both the Nasdaq price index and the Total Return at MarketWatch. Here's how it looked in 2017:
No matter which starting date and price you preferred, it was a tremendous year for the Nasdaq. If you bought and held a fund investing in the index and held it last year, you would be up in the neighborhood of a 30% return.
Of course, as we always say, your mileage may vary. Slippage, dividend timing, fees, purchase timing, and other factors would affect your final numbers. Still, it was a great year to be in the market.