Wall St ends best year since 1990s with moderate gains

Thursday, 2 January 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: US stocks closed out their best year in more than 15 on Tuesday, with major indexes advancing throughout 2013 on the back of the Federal Reserve’s massive stimulus and expectations for accelerating growth going forward. Wall Street ended 2013 with its positive momentum intact, advancing in its final trading day of the year on the back of positive consumer confidence data. The S&P 500 rose 29.6% over the year, its best annual performance since 1997, while the Dow climbed 26.5% in its best year since 1995. The Nasdaq jumped 38.3%, its best year since 2009. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 finished the final trading day of 2013 at record closing highs. In a sign of improving sentiment, the CBOE Volatility Index or VIX fell 23.9% over the year, the biggest annual drop for the so-called “fear index” since 2009. All 10 S&P 500 sector indexes ended the year with gains as investors rode the Fed’s extraordinary stimulus in a year that had only the slightest of hiccups. Wall Street even weathered a partial shutdown of the US government, as well as the recent announcement that the Fed would trim its monthly bond purchases in response to an improving economic picture. Trading volume was once again light in US markets, which will be closed Wednesday for the New Year’s holiday. Still, investors found reasons to buy after a read on consumer confidence rose more than expected in December.