Business / Financial Markets

U.S. stocks close out best year since 2013, stoked by October rally

by Alex Veiga

AP

Stocks are closing out their best year since 2013 led by huge gains in technology stocks. The benchmark S&P 500 index soared 28.9 percent for the year. Major indexes ended slightly higher Tuesday after spending most of the day wavering between small gains and losses. Technology and health care stocks led the gainers. The S&P 500 rose 9 points, or 0.3 percent, to 3,230. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 76 points, or 9.3 percent, to 28,538. The Nasdaq rose 26 points, or 0.3 percent, to 8,972. Bond prices fell, sending yields higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.92 percent.

The market’s trajectory to a strong finish for the year began in October as stocks emerged from a late-summer slump caused by fears that the U.S. economy could be headed for a recession. Those concerns eased as investors drew encouragement from surprisingly good third-quarter corporate earnings, a third interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve and other data showing the economy was not slowing as much as economists had feared.

A truce in the 17-month U.S.-China trade war helped keep investors in a buying mood through the end of the year. Washington and Beijing announced in December they reached an agreement over a “Phase 1” trade deal that calls for the U.S. to reduce tariffs and China to buy larger quantities of U.S. farm products.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump tweeted that he will sign the initial trade deal with China at the White House in mid-January. He also said he plans to travel to Beijing at a later date to open talks on other sticking points in the U.S.-China trade relationship that remain to be worked out, including Chinese practices the U.S. complains unfairly favor its own companies.