Wall St. Ends 2014 With Solid Gains
For the year, the Dow ended up 7.5 percent, marking its sixth straight yearly gain while the Nasdaq increased 13.4 percent. The best-performing S&P component in 2014 was Southwest Airlines Co up 124.6 percent; Transocean Ltd, down 62.9 percent, was the worst.
Equities lost steam heading into the New Year after rallying nearly 6 percent over eight sessions, sparked by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s assure to be “patient” about raising interest rates and positive economic data. Still, the S&P 500 has increased in seven of the past ten sessions, hitting a series of intraday and closing records, and ended the year up 11.4 percent. The stock market will be closed Thursday.
“The reality of the matter is markets put in a solid year in spite of important headwinds that could have easily derailed a multi-year bull market,” said Peter Kenny, chief market strategist at Clearpool Group in New York. Achievement in the energy space was once again a focus for investors. U.S. crude oil settled down 85 cents at $53.27 a barrel, its lowest since May 2009. Brent settled down 57 cents to $57.33.
The S&P Energy index simply the worst performing sector of the year with a decrease of 10 percent, lost 0.8 percent Wednesday. Diamond Offshore fell 3.6 percent to $36.71 and Noble Corp fell 2.8 percent to $16.57.