There’s not much in terms of market-moving headlines today as many markets have been closed for New Year’s Eve.
But 2015 has been a memorable one in the markets. So we thought we’d share some highlights.
Here is what you need to know.
Stocks are little changed for 2015.
- Heading into the final day of trading, the S&P 500 sits at 2063.36, virtually unchanged from its 2014 closing price of 2058.90. The last time the benchmark averaged finished the year flat was 2011. Currently, the Dow is down 1% and the Nasdaq is up 7%.
- European markets ended the year mixed. Germany’s DAX gained 10% while Italy’s MIB was the top performer, up 13%. On the downside, Britain’s FTSE lost 5% and Spain’s IBEX fell 7%.
- The major Asian indices were mostly higher. China’s Shanghai Composite and Japan’s Nikkei both gained 9%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lagged, losing 7%.
US Treasuries lost ground in 2015.
- Treasury yields put in their lows for the year in January.
- Up front, the 2-year surged to fresh six-year highs after the Fed rate hike in December. For the year, the 2-year rallied 60 basis points to 1.07%.
- The 10-year yield put in its 2015 high of 2.48% in June before ending the year up 43 basis points at 2.29%.
- Selling at the long end caused the 30-year yield to rise 28 basis points to 3.03%. The yield on the long bond put in its 2015 peak of 3.24% in June.
The US dollar rallied in 2015.
- The US Dollar Index climbed 9% in 2015.
- The Canadian dollar was the worst performing major currency versus the greenback, plunging 16.4% to 1.3889 per dollar as a result of the weakness in oil prices.
- The euro was also hit hard, falling 10% to 1.0913 as the European Central Bank announced a negative interest rate policy.
- The Swiss franc could be the lone major to gain versus the dollar. In January, the Swiss National Bank removed its euro-franc floor, causing the Swiss franc to skyrocket. The currency hit a high of .8392 per dollar, up 16%. However, by the middle of March, virtually the entire move had been erased. The franc is up 0.2% at .9919 per dollar heading into the final trading day of the year.
Commodities had a bad 2015.
- Precious metals saw some early strength in 2015, but sold off throughout the year after their January gains. Gold sank 10% to $1062 per ounce and silver lost 12% to $13.88 per ounce. On the industrial side, copper plunged 25% to $2.1360 per pound.
- The energy complex had a rough year. Crude oil tumbled 31% to $36.74 per barrel as oil inventories swelled amid OPEC’s plan to push out weak US shale players. An unseasonably warm fourth quarter pushed natural gas down to $1.75 per million British thermal units, but an end of the year rally saw the energy component end 2015 down 19% at $2.37.
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