- US equity markets rallied in the final trading session of 2018 after US President Donald Trump expressed optimism over the possibility of a trade deal with China.
- Still, the major averages posted their worst December performance since 1931, with the S&P 500 falling 9.2%.
- The benchmark index was down 6.2% in 2018.
- Watch stocks trade live.
US stocks soared into the new year, but were unable to stave off their worst December since the Great Depression.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 267 points, or 1.16%, while the S&P 500 was higher by 21 points, or 0.86%, near 2,507. Despite Monday’s gain, the S&P 500 fell 9.6% for the month of December, making it the worst closing month to the year since 1931, when it sank 14.5%. The benchmark index lost 6.2% in 2018, its biggest annual decline since 2008.
The small rally came after US President Donald Trump on Saturday tweeted that trade talks between the US and China were progressing, fueling optimism that a deal could be ironed out in January, when face-to-face negotiations between the two sides are expected to take place.
“Just had a long and very good call with President Xi of China,” Trump tweeted.
“Deal is moving along very well. If made, it will be very comprehensive, covering all subjects, areas and points of dispute. Big progress being made!”
A deal between the world’s two largest economies would be welcome to the global economy, as manufacturing data has taken a turn for the worse in both countries. On Monday, China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index showed the sector contracted for the first time in two years, and a survey of business leaders in Texas showed activity levels plunged to their lowest level since mid-2016.
But the downbeat data was unable to prevent gains on the final trading day of the year.
Amazon was up 1.3%, at $1,501.97, after the Wall Street Journal reported that Whole Foods employees are looking into opening store locations in western North America that would allow more customers to be within Prime Now’s two-hour-delivery-service range.
Other tech names also gained, with Netflix climbing 4.3% to $267.66, and AMD gaining 3.5%, at $18.46.
On the commodities front, West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 1.24% to above $45.70 a barrel. Meanwhile, natural gas plunged more than 10% to 2.965 per million British thermal units. It closed down more than 35% in December.
The dollar slid 0.31% against a basket of major peers and was flirting, closing at its lowest level since November 7. Treasury yields were weaker, with the 10-year down 3.4 basis points at 2.684%.
Markets across much of Asia and Europe were shuttered for New Year’s. They will remain closed until Wednesday.
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