U.S. stocks end lower on fi­nal trad­ing day of 2016

Steadily im­prov­ing econ­omy and job mar­ket, sta­ble oil prices cited for mar­ket turn­around late in year.

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Alex Veiga

In­vestors capped a year of solid gains on Wall Street in a sell­ing mood Fri­day, send­ing the ma­jor U.S. stock in­dexes mod­estly lower on the fi­nal trad­ing day of 2016.

Tech­nol­ogy and con­sumer-fo­cused stocks led the broad slide, while real es­tate com­pa­nies and banks eked out small gains. As it had been for much of the week, trad­ing was sub­dued be­fore the New Year’s Day hol­i­day ar­rived.

All told, the Dow ended the year with a 13.4 per­cent gain, while the Nas­daq com­pos­ite gained 7.5 per­cent.

The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex, the broad­est mea­sure of the stock mar­ket, gained 9.5 per­cent after an es­sen­tially flat fin­ish in 2015. In­clud­ing div­i­dends, the to­tal re­turn was 12.5 per­cent as of Thurs­day’s close.

Small-com­pany stocks fared the best, es­pe­cially since the elec­tion. The Rus­sell 2000 in­dex closed out 2016 with a gain of 19.5 per­cent.

The stock mar­ket weath­ered re­peated slumps in 2016, in­clud­ing the worst start to any year for stocks, the sec­ond cor­rec­tion for the mar­ket in five months and plum­met­ing oil prices. A steadily im­prov­ing U.S. econ­omy and job mar­ket, as well as more sta­ble oil prices and bet­ter com­pany earn­ings growth helped turn the mar­ket around.

The Dow slid 57.18 points Fri­day, or 0.3 per­cent, to 19,762.60. The S&P 500 in­dex fell 10.43 points, or 0.5 per­cent, to 2,238.83. The Nas­daq com­pos­ite gave up 48.97 points, or 0.9 per­cent, to 5,383.12. The Rus­sell 2000 lost 6.05 points, or 0.4 per­cent, to 1,357.13.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10year Trea­sury note fell to 2.44 per­cent from 2.48 per­cent late Thurs­day.

Bench­mark U.S. crude fell five cents to close at $53.72 a bar­rel in New York. That trans­lates into a 45 per­cent gain for the year. Brent crude, used to price in­ter­na­tional oils, slipped three cents to close at $56.82 a bar­rel in Lon­don.

In other en­ergy trad­ing, whole­sale gaso­line dropped two cents to $1.67 a gal­lon and heat­ing oil held steady at $1.70 a gal­lon. Nat­u­ral gas fu­tures fell 7.8 cents, or 2.1 per­cent, to $3.72 per 1,000 cu­bic feet.

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