Markets end 2018 with one-day gains after worst year since 2008

Roman Schwartz
January 3, 2019

On the year the Dow fell 5.6 percent, the S&P 500 was down 6.2 percent and the Nasdaq fell 4 percent, CNN reported.

Most Asian markets likewise lost ground in 2018.

Investor buying Monday was fueled mainly by new lows and optimism for 2019. Market's were closed on Tuesday for Christmas and will be shut again next Tuesday for New Year's Day. But for the year, only healthcare and utilities .SPLRCU ended 2018 higher.

On Monday, the benchmark S&P 500 Index settled at 2506.85, up 21.11 or -0.80%.

Facebook Inc fell 1.2 percent, cementing its place as the worst performing FAANG stock of the year, while Alphabet Inc fell 0.5 percent.

Despite a green final trading day of the year, market jitters have been expected to remain, as the three major indexes recorded their worst year since the financial crisis in 2008. The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 23327.46, up 265.06 or +1.08% and the tech-based NASDAQ Composite ended the session at 6635.28, up 50.76 or +0.70%. -China trade negotiations, the path of U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate hikes, slowing corporate growth and economic fallout from the upcoming departure of Britain from the European Union, or Brexit, among other concerns.

By Friday's mixed close, the Dow fell 0.33 percent to 23,062.40, the S&P 500 was down 0.12 percent to 2,485.74, while the Nasdaq was up 0.08 percent to 6,584.52. The major US stock indexes closed last week with their first weekly gain in what's been an otherwise painful month.

A Christmas Eve plunge brought it briefly into bear market territory, or a drop of 20 percent from its peak, before closing just short of the threshold that would have meant the end of the market's almost 10-year bull market run.

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Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.42-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.81-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.68 percent.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 1.3 percent on Monday to 25,485.70, while India's Sensex gained 0.2 percent to 36,129.27.

The 20.5 per cent drop of energy stocks in 2018 was largely attributable to crude prices plunging 38 per cent since early October. Benchmark U.S. crude oil was little changed at $45.26 a barrel in NY. Brent crude, the benchmark for worldwide prices, gained 1.1 percent to $53.80 a barrel in London.

Investors drew encouragement from a tweet from President Donald Trump on Sunday, in which the president said he had a "long and very good call" with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Trump added: "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.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 110.36 yen from 110.28 yen last Friday. The euro rose slightly to $1.1455 from $1.1442.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 255 points, or 1.1 percent, to 23,317.

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