Gary is off on assignment. Happy New Year everyone! Here is the market close from Yahoo Finance.
Equities began today's session on a slightly lower note after the weekend failed to advance the budget negotiations. The talks have now entered the 11th hour, and the likelihood of a timely, comprehensive agreement remains distant. However, recent reports out of Washington indicated the two sides have made some progress on revenues, but the debate over spending cuts is scheduled to continue. Equities rallied broadly amid low volume and the S&P 500 finished higher by 1.7%. The materials sector outperformed after the Chinese HSBC Manufacturing PMI report beat expectations. The strong PMI reading was received as a positive sign for the country's economy, which in turn would be a positive for the future demand for basic materials. Technology stocks also outperformed and Apple (AAPL 532.17, +22.58) rose by 4.4%.
With 2012 coming to a close, we would like to take a minute and reflect on the year that was. 2012 proved to be a positive year for world equities despite a number of macroeconomic challenges. Markets across the globe registered strong gains as Germany's DAX and Greece's ASE General Index both added over 30%. Domestically, the S&P 500 registered a solid 12% gain, and was slightly outperformed by the Nasdaq and Russell 2000. The renewed worries regarding the weakening fundamentals of the Eurozone persisted into the summer and weighed on market sentiment. However, late-summer efforts from the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve alleviated some of the fears, and propelled the markets to a strong second-half performance. The rally was cut short after the election, when the market focus turned to the budget debate, which lasted into the New Year. Below we summarize some of the key developments, which contributed to market sentiment.