This post was written by CNBC producer Robert Hum.
An end-of-year rally today (albeit on fairly light volume once again) pushed the S&P 500 into positive territory to end the month. December’s 0.8% gain snaps three straight monthly declines for the index, but it was just the fourth month this year in which it posted a monthly gain. In the final hour, the Dow too flirted with finishing the month with a gain. However, it ended off its highs of the day, and posted its fourth straight monthly loss, with a decline of 0.6% in December.
With gains over 4% during the past 5 days, the Dow and S&P’s strong finish to the year still can’t overshadow their horrendous 2008. Down 33.8% on the year, the Dow had its worst showing since 1931 and the S&P, which was down 38.5%, had its poorest performance since 1937.
Here’s how the 10 S&P 500 sectors ended the year:
Cons. Discretionary -34.72%
Cons. Staples -17.66%
Out with the Old, In with the New:
Three financials depart the S&P 500 following today’s trading, and as expected, volume in these companies spiked at the close with the index’s rebalancing. Merrill Lynch, Wachovia, and National City will be replaced by SCANA , Owens-Illinois , and FLIR Systems — all three of which have market caps under $5 billion. The three departing financials are each being acquired in pending deals that should close in early in the New Year.
Happy New Year to all!
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