The opening bell could ring a little more optimistically in 2014, but the stock market is unlikely to continue its sizzling pace of gains.
This year is expected to close out on an up note, with the up nearly 30 percent—the best year since 1997. The 2014 trading year kicks off Thursday, after the New Year's Day holiday.
Part of the optimism has to do with a slight shift in sentiment about the economy, after a string of positive data surprises and upward revisions in third-quarter GDP took it to 3.6 percent growth from an initial 2 percent.
"A month and a half ago, you would have thought we'd have [fourth-quarter] growth of 1 percent," said Daniel Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG. "It's been a very rapid readjustment of expectations."