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.
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.