Markets Right Now: Stocks end dismal year on a bright note

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on the last day of the trading year

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on the last day of the trading year

Wall Street advanced in low-volume trading yesterday as revellers gathered to ring in 2019, marking the end of the worst year for U.S. stocks since 2008, the height of the financial crisis. The S&P 500 closed at 2,506.85 for a gain of 21.11 points or 0.85%.

The S&P 500 fell 166.76 points, or 6.2 percent.

Following solid gains throughout the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 265.06 points, or 1.15 percent, to 23327.46 on Monday.

In addition to China tensions, regular increases in the Federal Reserve's interest rate and concerns of a depression left investors wary to purchase stocks for much of the year. With threats of an increased trade war between the U.S. and China still hovering, the Brexit finale drawing to a head, and uncertainty regarding the number of interest rate hikes the Federal Reserve will implement, there are a lot of potential stumbling blocks on the road ahead.

The government remained partially shut down through the end of the year with Democrats taking majority of the House of Representatives when discussions reconvene on Thursday, Jan. 3. It finished 12.2 percent lower for the year. On Monday, the two-year Treasury yield also reported its largest monthly decrease in 10 years, which could further help the outlook for stocks.

Will Geisdorf, an analyst at Ned Davis Research, however, told clients to reduce their stock holdings to just 40 percent of their portfolios, adding the market bounce "has not changed the [firm's] bearish view".

39 people arrested after man stabbed in London
Superintendent Mark Lawrence said the arrest of 39 was "appropriate" because of the need to obtain "essential evidence". So many people had been arrested because of a lack of cooperation on the part of potential suspects, police confirmed.

All the 11 primary S&P sectors traded higher, with the healthcare sector up 1.39 percent, leading the winners.

Energy companies fared the worst, plunging 20.5 percent for the year, as the price of USA crude oil tumbled around 40 percent from a four-year peak of $76 a barrel in October.

On Monday, benchmark USA crude oil inched up 0.2 percent to settle at $45.41 a barrel in NY.

Trading will be closed Tuesday for New Year's Day. President Donald Trump tweeted over the weekend that he had a "very good" call with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Deal is moving along very well. Trump also claimed that "big progress" was being made on this front. If made, it will be very comprehensive, covering all subjects, areas and points of dispute.

Stocks are snapping higher in early trading on Wall Street on the last day of a volatile year as hopes grew for progress in resolving trade frictions between the US and China. The euro strengthened to $1.1474 from $1.1442. Copper lost 1.9 percent to $2.63 a pound. The Nasdaq rose 74 points, or 1.1 percent, to 6,658.

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