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US stocks end 2013 higher

Thursday, January 2, 2014

NEW YORK—Stocks headed higher in trading as investors closed out their positions on the last day of trading for 2013. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index had its best annual return since 1997. Traders worked through a report that showed US consumer confidence rose far more than expected in December.


Keeping score: The Dow Jones industrial average was up 44 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 16,548. The S&P 500 was up six points, or 0.3 per cent, to 1,847 and the Nasdaq composite was up 19 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 4,174. Last economic reports: US consumer confidence rose in December to 78.1, according to the Conference Board, better than the 76 figure economists expected. Consumer spending is especially important in December when shoppers are buying gifts for the holidays.


A stellar year: Stock investors were rewarded in 2013 with their best year since the 1990s. The S&P 500 is on pace to close up almost 30 per cent for the year, or 32 per cent when dividends are included, the best year since 1997. Little activity: Unlike most overseas markets, US exchanges were open for a full day of trading Tuesday. While there was some last minute buying and selling, most investors have closed their positions for 2013. Volume has been 40 per cent lower than average during the last five trading days of 2013.


A tarnished year for gold: The price of gold rose US$6.30, or 0.6 per cent, to US$1,210.40 an ounce. Gold has been one the worst-performing investments this year. The metal is down 29 per cent in 2013, its worst year since 1981.





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