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Dec. 31, 2019, 5:07 p.m. EST

Stock market ends 2019 on a high note as Wall Street closes out a banner year

S&P 500 posts biggest annual gain since 2013

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By Chris Matthews and William Watts, MarketWatch


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U.S. stocks finished Tuesday trade with modest gains on low volumes ahead of the New Year holiday on Wednesday, closing out a banner year for Wall Street.

What are major indexes doing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.07% closed up 76.30 points or 0.3%, at 28,538.44, while the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.48% gained 9.49 points, or 0.3%, to 3,230.78. The Nasdaq Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +1.29% rose 26.61 points, or 0.3%, to 8,972.60.

The Dow ended the year up 22.3%, its best year since 2017, while the S&P 500 saw its best year since 2013, gaining 28.9%. The Nasdaq also had its loftiest annual performance in six years after rallying 35.2% in the year.

The Dow is off 0.4% from its Dec. 27 record, the S&P 500 is off 0.3% from its late-December all-time high. The Nasdaq is off 0.6% from its record, which was hit on Dec. 26.

Meanwhile, blue-chips gained 6% during the quarter and 1.7% for the month, while the S&P 500 rose 8.5% over the three-month period and 2.9% in December. The Nasdaq booked a return of 12.2% in the last three months of the year and rose 3.5% in December.

What’s driving the market today?

Stocks closed slightly higher on the back of positive news on the international trade front, with President Trump announcing on Twitter than he plans to sign a “phase-one” U.S.-China trade deal at the White House on Jan. 15.

Earlier Tuesday, trade adviser Peter Navarro said that the deal was “in the bank” and that the Trump administration was just waiting to review a Chinese translation of the 86-page agreement.

Stocks saw some early selling on the news after posting sharp gains since President Trump first announced the agreement in October.

“What’s striking is the sell-the-fact reaction in stocks, which suggests that this ‘skinny deal’ is finally fully priced into the markets,” said Marios Hadjikyriacos, investment analyst at XM, in a note.

See : Trump says U.S. and China to sign ‘phase 1’ trade deal on Jan. 15

Analysts also pointed to year-end dynamics, along with the superlative returns already seen as reasons for weakness in recent days. “There’s a lot of profit taking going on, as well as tax-loss harvesting,” Keith Buchanan, portfolio manager at Globalt Investments told MarketWatch. “The reason we’re having an atypical end of the year is because we’ve had such an atypical run leading up to it.”

In U.S. economic news, the October Case-Shiller home price index showed home prices rising by 3.3% in 20 major metropolitan areas across the U.S., up from a 3.2% rise in September.

The Conference Board’s index of consumer confidence fell slightly to 126.5 in December, from a revised reading of 126.8 in November.

/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
25,383.11
-17.53 -0.07%
Volume: 545.14M
May 29, 2020 5:14p
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/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
3,044.31
+14.58 +0.48%
Volume: 4.38B
May 29, 2020 5:14p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
9,489.87
+120.88 +1.29%
Volume: 4.24M
May 29, 2020 5:16p
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