cloudy
Sunday May 1st, 2016 8:02AM

S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997

By The Associated Press
NEW YORK - The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index notched its best year since 1997; The Dow Jones industrial average rose the most since 1995.

While trading was light on the last day of the year, investors were able to rally behind a report that showed U.S. consumer confidence improved significantly in December.

The early signs for the stock market in 2014 are also encouraging.

"I expect a lot of good things for the new year," Karyn Cavanaugh, market strategist with ING U.S. Investment Management, said. "The economy is getting better and corporate earnings are improving. That's going to drive the market higher next year as well."

On Tuesday the Standard & Poor's 500 rose 7.29 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,848.36. The index ended 2013 up 29.6 percent. With dividends included, the total return was 31.9 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 72.37 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,576.66. The blue chips ended the year up 26.5 percent.

Lastly, the Nasdaq composite rose 22.39 points, or 0.5 percent, to close out 2013 at 4,176.59. The Nasdaq did far better than the Dow and S&P, rising 38.3 percent for the year.

While stocks clawed higher for most of 2013, the rally accelerated into the end of the year. The Federal Reserve's announcement on Dec. 18 that it would start paring back, or "tapering," its economic stimulus pushed stocks further into record territory.

"Since the Fed announced it was tapering its stimulus program two weeks ago, investors that were underinvested in stocks have pulled out of gold and bonds and moved it into stocks," said J.J. Kinahan, chief strategist with TD Ameritrade. "It's been a quiet rally."

All 10 sectors of the S&P 500 ended the year higher, but the year's biggest gainers were companies most exposed to the U.S. economic recovery. Consumer discretionary stocks in the S&P 500 rose 40 percent this year. Close behind were industrial stocks with a gain of 37 percent.

As it has been for the last two weeks of the year, trading volume was very low Tuesday. Roughly 2.3 billion shares were traded on the New York Stock Exchange, about 40 percent below average. Most investors closed their books before the week of Christmas.

2013's rally took many investors by surprise.

Any number of things could have derailed the market's rally: The U.S. government shutdown, the possibility of a default, the threat of military action in Syria, budget cuts and new worries about European government debt. Instead, the market just kept on going.

Skittish investors who jumped out of stocks this year not only lost out, but were punished for it.

Bond investors lost money this year, according to Barclays Capital U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, a broad measure of the debt market. The index fell 2 percent this year, the first decline since 1999.

If bond investors had a disappointing year, gold investors got slammed. Gold lost 28 percent of its value in 2013, its worst year since 1981.

With the U.S. economy improving and stocks performing so well, gold is likely to remain under pressure, Kinahan said.

U.S. financial markets will be closed on Wednesday for New Year's Day.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 2 years ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 2 years ago )
Consumer confidence rises on better job outlook
U.S. consumer confidence jumped this month on a better outlook for hiring and growth, supporting other signs that show the economy could accelerate in 2014.
11:17AM ( 2 years ago )
U.S. News
Missing Ga. bank director arrested in Brunswick
A bank director accused of losing millions of investors' dollars before vanishing last year was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop in a city in south Georgia.
7:00PM ( 2 years ago )
Amtrak to suspend some Crescent service in Jan., Feb.
Amtrak service will shut down in parts of the Southeast for several days in January and February for rail maintenance by Norfolk Southern Railway.
9:00AM ( 2 years ago )
Stocks barely budge in quiet end-of-year trading
The stock market ended a quiet Monday mostly where it began as investors shut their books for what has been an extraordinary year on Wall Street.
5:08PM ( 2 years ago )
Business News
Metro Atlanta developer announces plans for 508-acre mixed use community in the Braselton area
A metro Atlanta developer has announced plans to build a mixed-use community in the Braselton area that would encompass more than 500 acres on the Hall-Jackson County line.
7:30AM ( 32 minutes ago )
Three arrested on meth-related charges following Lumpkin County investigation
3 people were arrested in Lumpkin County last Friday on several drug-related charges.
8:21PM ( 11 hours ago )
PHOTO GALLERY: Gainesville's Spring Chicken Festival
The annual Spring Chicken Festival was held in downtown Gainesville Saturday.
6:29PM ( 13 hours ago )
Gwinnett Police offer reward for location of rape suspect
Gwinnett County Police are offering a reward of up to $2,000 in exchange for information to help locate a man they believe sexually assaulted a mentally handicapped woman in Duluth earlier this month.
3:20PM ( 16 hours ago )
Gainesville City Council to consider $15,000 grant for new bullet proof vests
‚ÄčGainesville city council will consider a $15,000 grant application to cover 50 percent of the cost of new bullet proof vests for the Gainesville Police Department.
12:05PM ( 19 hours ago )