Business, Finance & Economics

US stocks finish higher for 2012

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City on Feb. 15, 2011, the day it was announced that NYSE Euronext, the parent company of the NYSE, would merge with the Germany's Deutsche Boerse to form the world's largest exchange for stocks and derivatives.

Credit:

Spencer Platt

US stocks ended 2012 higher than a year ago, boosted by their strongest day in more than a month, Reuters reported.

In the last trading day of 2012, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 166.03 points, or 1.28 percent, to finish at 13,104.14. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index increased 23.76 points, or 1.69 percent, to close at 1,426.19. And the Nasdaq Composite Index increased 59.20 points, or 2 percent, to 3,019.51.

The Dow ended the year 7.3 percent higher, the Nasdaq increased 15.9 percent and the S&P 500 gained 13.4 percent, Reuters reported.

Financials were the S&P's top performing industry sector in 2012, rising more than 26 percent, Reuters reported.

Stocks rallied today after Sen. Mitch McConnell said that Congressional leaders were "very, very close" to a deal that would prevent tax increases, and President Barack Obama gave a mid-afternoon speech that reassured investors that a deal was near, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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Joe Heider, regional managing principal at Rehmann Financial in Ohio, said markets have priced in some kind of last-minute resolution but if it turns out that a deal isn't reached by midnight, stock markets would likely decline by a few percentage points on Wednesday.

"Maybe it's wishful thinking, but I really think they'll come to a 5,000-foot level agreement," he said. "If a deal collapses, we are likely to experience a selloff on Wednesday."

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