Stocks end 2023 with big gains

No one expected a boffo year for stocks, but it came anyway. 

The only disappointment, if one can call it that, was that the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index  (^IN) – Get Free Report came within points of setting a new all-time closing high but missed as the major averages all drifted lower. 

Even bitcoin had a big year. It did slip on day, and was trading at $41,955 just before 4 p.m. ET, down $463 on the day and down 5.6% since an early December peak. But the cryptocurrency is still up nearly 154% on the year. 

The S&P 500 was off 14 points, or 0.3%, at 4,770. The Dow Jones industrials  (^DJI) – Get Free Report were down 21 points, or 0.05%, to 37,689. The Nasdaq Composite Index  (^COMPX) – Get Free Report slipped 84 points, or 0.5%, to 15,011. 

For the year, the S&P 500 was up more than 24%, its best showing since 2021. The Dow gained 13.7% on the year, up from an 8.6% decline in the 2022 down year. The Nasdaq soared 44%, its best showing since 2020. 

The market’s big showing was a surprise to a year that opened on a gloomy note with high interest rates depressing sentiment. But the Federal Reserve stopped raising interest after a small increase in July, and Chairman Jerome Powell suggested the Central Bank would start cutting its key rate in 2024.

Even before Powell’s comments at the Fed’s December meeting, a powerful rally erupted after the 10-year Treasury note briefly hit 5% in October and started to fall back. 

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