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US benchmarks end a rough year on a low note

The Dow closed at 23,328.41 this year compared with 24,719.22 in 2017

Bulls and bears
For the year, stocks were headed for their worst annual performance since 2008

The US benchmarks ended the day on a positive note but ended the year on a sour note.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up about 270 points by the closing bell, or 23,328.41 this year compared with 24,719.22 in 2017.

The Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS), The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) were some of the best-performing stocks on the index.

The S&P 500 was up about 20 points with Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Best Buy Co Inc (NASDAQ:BBY) as the top gainers. The index fell about 6% for the year.

The Nasdaq was up about 50 points with Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLXand chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices Inc (NASDAQ:AMD) taking the top gainer spots. The tech-heavy index slipped nearly 4% for the year.

The Russell 2000 climbed around 1% by the end of the trading day.

Travel site Travelzoo (NASDAQ:TZOO) and retailer Francesca’s Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:FRAN) were two of the best-performing stocks on the small-cap index.

Up north, the TSX was up about 76 points with rising oil prices lifting energy stocks.

1:05 PM: Dow ends rocky year with daily gain as Trump cites ‘big progress’ in China trade talks

Stocks ended a difficult year on a high note, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average posting triple-digit gains Monday after President Donald Trump's claim of "big progress" on a possible trade deal with China.

The Dow climbed 162 points, or 0.7%, to 23,224.52. The blue-chip index pared its annual drop to 6%, still the worst performance since the 2008 financial crisis. The tech-laden Nasdaq advanced 0.4% to 6,612.71 on Monday.

Of the day’s Nasdaq gainers, Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) was the best performer, climbing 3.6% to $265.14 after the streaming media company reported Friday that more than 45 million accounts had tuned into its original horror movie “Bird Box.”

The broader-based S&P 500 added 0.4% to 2,496.60 while the Russell 2000 small-cap index slipped 0.2% to 1,336.19. In Canada, the TSX advanced 0.4% to 14,280.05.

Trump said in a Twitter posting over the weekend that the US and China had made “big progress” in trade negotiations. A China manufacturing index, meanwhile, fell to 49.4, the lowest level since early 2016. A reading above 50 indicates expansion while a figure less than that means contraction.

Continuing to weigh on stocks was the US government shutdown, which entered its second week as Trump kept pressing for a Mexican border wall.

Spot gold prices climbed 0.06% to $1,283.80 per ounce. Crude oil on the NYMEX slipped 0.07% to $45.30 per barrel.

9:52 AM: US stocks claw higher on possible trade deal with China as turbulent year nears a close

US stocks climbed in Monday morning trading on cautious optimism over President Donald Trump's claim of "big progress" on a possible trade deal with China.

For the year, however, stocks were on track to put in their worst annual performance since the 2008 financial crisis.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 1% to 23,293. 

The S&P 500 added almost 0.8% to 2,505, while Nasdaq gained nearly 1% to 6,649.

The Russell 2000 small-cap index went up 0.2% to 1,340. In Canada, the TSX advanced 0.3% to trade at about 14,260.

A China manufacturing index fell to 49.4, the lowest level since early 2016. A reading above 50 is a sign of economic expansion while a figure less than that indicates contraction.

Spot gold prices were off 0.07% to $1,282.10 per ounce. Crude oil on the NYMEX was trading 0.7% firmer at $45.64 per barrrel. 

7:43 AM: US stock futures move higher in last session of turbulent year

US stock futures were higher on Monday as it was inspired in part by claims of President Donald Trump of "big progress" on a possible trade deal with China.

Shares though are on track to put in their worst annual performance since the 2008 financial crisis.

The manufacturing index in China fell to 49.4, the weakest reading since early 2016. A reading above 50 is a sign of expansion but a figure below is a sign of contraction.

In London, the FTSE 100 was almost little changed as most players seem to be away for the holidays. 

Markets in Japan and China were closed. The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index edged up 1.3% in a shortened session to 25,845.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose more than 1% to 23,278. At this time a year ago, it settled around 25,280.

The S&P 500 futures added almost 1% to 2,509. Nasdaq futures increased 1.1% to 6,363. 

The Russell 2000 small cap futures went up nearly 0.5% to 1,337.

 

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