Stocks finished higher Monday. The Dow gained 265 points to 23,327 while the S&P 500 added 21 points to 2,506. The Nasdaq Composite added 50 points to 6,635.
The major averages were buoyed by trade optimism on the final trading session of 2018. The Wall Street Journal reported the Chinese and U.S. are working towards a trade deal. Over the weekend, President Trump tweeted of “big progress” regarding trade. Despite today’s gains, all three major averages capped its worst year in a decade with the steepest December decline since the Great Depression. The Dow lost 8.7% in December and 5.6% for the year. The S&P 500 finished the month down 9.2% and notched a 6.2% annual loss. The Nasdaq also finished the month and year lower, falling 9.5% and 3.9%, respectively. For the quarter, the Dow lost 11.8%, the S&P 500 declined 14%, and the Nasdaq tumbled 17.5%.
All 11 S&P 500 sectors ended higher with Health Care, the top performing group of 2018, pacing gains. The Consumer Discretionary sector also outperformed with Amazon adding 1.6% to $1,501.97 after announcing plans to significantly expand its Whole Foods grocery stores.
Breadth was positive on issues by 5:2 on the NYSE and by 9:5 on the Nasdaq. Composite NYSE volume was more than 3.4 billion shares.
Treasuries strengthened with the yield on the 10-year note down three basis points to 2.68%. In commodities, WTI crude finished little changed at $45.41/barrel to end the year down 25%, its first annual decline since 2015. COMEX gold gained 0.1% to $1,284.20/ounce amid a weaker dollar, but fell 1.9% for the year.