US Stocks Edge Lower; S&P 500 Goes Red For The Year

NEW YORK (AP) —

U.S. stocks closed lower on Thursday, capping the worst year for the market since 2008.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index ended essentially flat for the year after the day’s modest losses nudged it into the red for 2015. Even factoring in dividends, the index eked out a far smaller return than in 2014.

The Dow Jones industrial average also closed out the year with a loss. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite fared better, delivering a gain for the year.

“It’s a lousy end to a pretty lousy year,” said Edward Campbell, portfolio manager for QMA, a unit of Prudential Investment Management. “A very unrewarding year.”

1 Stocks

Trading was lighter than usual on Thursday ahead of the New Year’s Day holiday. Technology stocks were among the biggest decliners, while energy stocks eked out a tiny gain thanks to a rebound in crude oil and natural gas prices.

The Dow ended the day down 178.84 points, or 1 percent, to 17,425.03. The S&P 500 index lost 19.42 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,043.94. The Nasdaq composite fell 58.43 points, or 1.2 percent, to 5,007.41.

For 2015, the Dow registered a loss of 2.2 percent. It’s the first down year for the Dow since 2008. The Nasdaq ended with a gain of 5.7 percent.

The S&P 500 index, regarded as a benchmark for the broader stock market, lost 0.7 percent for the year.

While U.S. employers added jobs at a solid pace in 2015 and consumer confidence improved, several factors weighed on stocks in 2015.

On Thursday, nine of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 index ended lower, led by a 1.4 percent decline in technology stocks. Energy stocks, which had been battered recently as commodities prices sank, rose 0.3 percent as oil prices rebounded. The sector still closed out the year down nearly 24 percent, making it the worst performer in the S&P 500.

Crude oil and natural gas prices recovered some of their losses from the day before. Benchmark U.S. crude climbed 44 cents, or 1.2 percent, to close at $37.04 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 82 cents, or 2.2 percent, to close at $37.28 a barrel in London.

In other energy trading in New York, wholesale gasoline rose 3.7 cents to $1.267 a gallon, heating oil rose 2.2 cents to $1.101 a gallon and natural gas rose 12.3 cents to $2.337 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 dropped 0.5 percent, putting it down 4.9 percent for the year. France’s CAC-40 fared better in 2015, with an 8.5 percent gain after slipping 0.9 percent on Thursday. Germany’s main stock market, which was closed Thursday for the holiday, ended the year with a 9.6 percent gain. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.9 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.1 percent.

Precious and industrial metals prices ended mixed. Gold rose $40 cents to $1,060.20 an ounce, silver fell 4 cents to $13.80 an ounce and copper slid 1 cent to $2.14 a pound.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.27 percent from 2.30 percent a day earlier.

In currency markets, the dollar fell to 120.19 yen from 120.55 yen, while the euro fell to $1.0859 from $1.0924.

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