Wall Street Ends Robust 2010 Quietly Mixed

1 Jan

NEW YORK: US stocks closed mixed Friday in a quiet final session of 2010 as investors looked toward the new year in hopes of building on Wall Street's recent robust gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 7.80 points (0.07 per cent) to finish at 11,577.51, lifting the blue-chip Dow up 11 per cent in 2010.

The S&P 500 index, a broader measure of the market, dipped 0.24 point (0.02 per
cent) to 1,257.64.

The tech-rich NASDAQ shed 10.11 points (0.38 per cent) at 2,652.87.

“Traders appear to have their sights set on 2011, closing the book on a year that saw the major equity markets post solid gains,” Charles Schwab analysts said in a client note.

With no major economic releases on the calendar, investors tread water in typically thin trading on New Year's Eve.

But the three indices ended the year on a high note. The Dow was up 11.02 per cent from a year ago, the S&P 500 gained 12.78 per cent and the NASDAQ added 16.91 per cent.

“Momentum continues to be positive and we continue to advise traders to remain on the long side going into the new year,” said Scott Marcouiller at Wells Fargo Advisors.

The Dow rose 5.0 per cent in December alone and had closed Wednesday at its highest level since August 2008, the month before the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy sent the global economy into a tailspin.

The NASDAQ approached its highest level since December 2007.

Wall Street's performance in 2010 has been a standout on the global scene. In Europe, the Eurostoxx 50, the index of the 50 most capitalized firms in the eurozone, dropped more than 5.0 per cent over the year, while Tokyo's Nikkei index lost 3.01 per cent.

Among US stocks in focus Friday, bookseller Borders plunged 22.40 per cent to 90 cents.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the nation's second-largest bookstore chain by revenue is delaying payments to some publishers as it seeks to refinance debt.

Cinema operator IMAX rose 4.50 per cent to 28.07 dollars after the British tabloid Daily Mail said Japan's Sony was eyeing a takeover bid.

CVS Caremark fell 0.66 per cent to 34.77 dollars. The drugstore chain said it is buying a business of Universal American for about 1.25 billion dollars.

Energy group Constellation fell 0.36 per cent to 30.63 dollars after agreeing to sell a Texas natural gas plant for 185 million dollars.

The bond market advanced.

The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell to 3.30 per cent from 3.37 percent late Thursday, while that of the 30-year bond declined to 4.36 per cent from 4.43 percent. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.

– AFP/fa

Channel News Asia

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