Stocks falter at the end of an up year

By Alexandra Twin, senior writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Stocks slumped Thursday in a thinly-traded session on the last day of 2009 as investors mulled a better-than-expected report on initial jobless claims at the end of a big year on Wall Street.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) lost 120 points, or 1.1%, after ending the previous session at the highest point since Oct. 1, 2008. The S&P 500 index (SPX) fell 11 points, or 1%, after ending the previous session just short of a 15-month high. The Nasdaq composite (COMP) shed 22 points, or 1%, and ended the previous session at the highest point since Oct. 3, 2008.

How will stocks perform in 2010?
  • Up sharply
  • Up a little
  • Down sharply
  • Down a little
  • Little changed

Stocks had seesawed through the early afternoon as investors mulled a better-than-expected jobs report and a strong U.S. dollar, before sliding in the last hour of trade. Declines were broad-based, with 29 of 30 Dow components sliding.

Volume was anemic Thursday, with many market participants ducking out early ahead of New Year's Eve. All financial markets will be closed Friday in observance of New Year's Day.

Investors are welcoming the end of a surprisingly strong year on Wall Street. In the just-completed year, the S&P 500 gained 23.4%, the Dow industrials gained 18.8% and the Nasdaq added 44%.

Stocks are up even more substantially since bottoming in March at the height of the financial market crisis.

Since closing at a 12-year low on March 9, the Dow has gained 59% and the S&P 500 has gained 65%. Since closing at a 6-year low on the same date, the Nasdaq is up 79%.

Time Warner Cable v. Fox: The two companies are still trying to hammer out a deal for TWC to continue airing Fox-owned broadcast networks. If a deal can't be reached by midnight, all of Fox's broadcast networks and some of its cable channels will disappear from the televisions of most of Time Warner Cable's 13 million subscribers.

Jobless claims: The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment fell to 432,000 last week, the government reported. It was the lowest level since July 2008. Economists expected 460,000 new jobless claims, up from the 454,000 filed in the previous week.

World markets: Asian markets ended higher, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng gaining 1.8%; Japan ended its trading year on Wednesday. In Europe, London's FTSE 100 gained 0.3% and France's CAC 40 was barely changed. A number of markets were closed, including the German market.

Commodities and the dollar: COMEX gold for February delivery rose $3.70 to settle at $1,096.20 an ounce. Gold closed at an all-time high of $1,218.30 an ounce earlier this month.

U.S. light crude oil for February delivery rose 8 cents to settle at $79.36 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The dollar gained versus other major currencies.

Bonds: Treasury prices tumbled, raising the yield on the 10-year note to 3.84% from 3.79% late Wednesday. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Market breadth was negative and trading volume was among the lightest of the year. On the New York Stock Exchange, losers beat winners by two to one on volume of 680 million shares. On the Nasdaq, decliners topped advancers by eight to five on volume of 1.25 billion shares. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.36%4.24%
15 yr fixed3.39%3.26%
5/1 ARM3.36%3.27%
30 yr refi4.34%4.22%
15 yr refi3.38%3.24%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,408.54 -16.31 -0.10%
Nasdaq 4,095.52 9.29 0.23%
S&P 500 1,864.85 2.54 0.14%
Treasuries 2.72 0.08 3.19%
Data as of 7:27pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.15 0.00 0.00%
Facebook Inc 58.94 0.00 0.00%
General Electric Co 26.56 0.00 0.00%
Cisco Systems Inc 23.21 0.00 0.00%
Micron Technology In... 23.91 0.00 0.00%
Data as of Apr 17

Sections

General Mills has scrapped a controversial change to its fine print that some read as eliminating customers' right to sue the company. More

Obamacare sign ups hit 8 million, though final enrollment remains to be seen. More

Office for iPad move is a symbolic victory for Nadella's Microsoft, but the company is still weighed down by many of the same old issues. More

Schwinn, Trek and Cannondale are all iconic American bicycle brands. But none of them are made in the United States. More

As Detroit moves closer to reaching a bankruptcy deal, retired civilian workers are poised to be left worse off than firemen and police officers. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.