After spending most of the day in the red equities rose in the final minutes in the last day of 2019 to finish modestly higher, marking a positive end to a solid year for stocks that saw a number of record highs, courtesy of optimism on the trade front, eased recession worries, and a more accommodating monetary policy from the Fed.
Volume was subdued heading into tomorrow’s New Year’s holiday break, and as the U.S. bond markets traded in an abbreviated session, several global markets were shuttered ahead of the holiday and some traded in shortened sessions.
Treasury yields were higher, as was gold, but the U.S. dollar and crude oil prices were lower.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 76 points (0.3%) to 28,538
The S&P 500 Index gained 10 points (0.3%) to 3,231
The Nasdaq Composite advanced 27 points (0.3%) to 8,973
In moderate volume, 810 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 2.2 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq
WTI crude oil declined $0.62 to $61.06 per barrel and wholesale gasoline was $0.03 lower at $1.69 per gallon
The Bloomberg gold spot price advanced $2.86 at $1,518.02 per ounce
The Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—decreased 0.3% to 96.50
Markets were sharply higher for 2019, as the DJIA rose 22.3%, the S&P 500 Index increased 28.9%, and the Nasdaq Composite jumped 35.2%
Consumer Confidence unexpectedly dips, home prices top forecasts
The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index declined to 126.5 in December, from November’s upwardly-revised 126.8 level, versus the Bloomberg estimate of a rise to 128.5.
The 20-city composite S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index posted a 2.2% year-over-year gain in home prices in October, versus expectations of a 2.1% increase. Compared to the prior month, home prices were 0.4% higher on a seasonally adjusted basis, compared to forecasts of a 0.3% gain.
Treasuries were lower, as the yield on the 2-year note was up 1 basis point at 1.57%, the yield on the 10-year note increased 2 bps 1.92%, while the 30-year bond rate gained 4 bps 2.39%. Bond yields have continued to grind higher, with the U.S. and China reaching a “phase one” trade deal, the U.S. Mexico and Canada trade agreement (USMCA) receiving approval.
Please note: all U.S. markets will be closed tomorrow in observance of the New Year holiday.
Europe sees red to ring in the New Year, but action was muted ahead of the holiday
European equities traded lower, trimming 2019′s sharp gains that have been fueled by eased uncertainties regarding the global trade front, faded recession worries, and pledges from global central banks to maintain easy monetary policies. The euro and British pound moved higher versus the U.S dollar as the greenback continued to slide.
The U.K. FTSE 100 Index was down 0.6%, France’s CAC-40 Index dipped 0.1%, and Spain’s IBEX 35 Index fell 0.7%.
Stocks in Asia finished mixed in the final session of 2019, which has seen some solid gains in the global equity markets due to eased trade concerns as the U.S. and China are expected to sign a “phase one” deal early in 2020.
Volume was light as markets in Japan and South Korea were closed and South Korean and Australian markets closed early ahead of the New Year holiday.
China’s Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.3%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index declined 0.5%, with the region reporting that exports continued to drop in November but at a smaller pace than in October and compared to expectations. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 1.8%, amid a broad-based selloff led by the financial sector, and India’s S&P BSE Sensex 30 Index trimmed a double-digit advance for 2019, decreasing 0.7%.