May 30, 2024

Stocks little changed as Wall Street closes a record year

The last trading day of 2023 has arrived and Wall Street appears to be taking a breath after a muscular year-end rally pushed stocks close to record highs.

The S&P 500 (^GSPC) hovered near an all-time closing high of 4,796.56. The benchmark average increased just 0.02% on Friday morning. Meanwhile the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) added 0.05%, or about 20 points, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) was just over the flatline.

While stocks were little changed during the first hour of trading, the major indexes powered through a year of economic uncertainty. The Dow has risen more than 13% for the year. The S&P enjoyed gains of nearly 25% and the Nasdaq has swelled 44% year-to-date.

The resilience of the stock market this year played out against the backdrop of an aggressive tightening campaign from the Federal Reserve. Central bankers set out to rein in historical levels of inflation. And while the Fed received criticism from some market observers for acting too slowly to grapple with pricing pressures, sentiment on Wall Street has been buoyed by hopes that the central bank is done with rate hikes. While analysts disagree over what 2024 will bring, the market is banking on a Fed posture that’s far less restrictive next year.

Tech stocks, which have driven much of the growth the market has enjoyed in recent months, are seen by more bullish analysts as leading the way to even more gains in the new year.

TOPSHOT - Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) during morning trading on December 14, 2023, in New York City. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images) (ANGELA WEISS via Getty Images)

As the ball drops on Times Square to end 2023 heading into 2024 we believe the tech sector is set up for an acceleration of spending around cloud and AI spending that we believe is still being significantly underestimated by the Street,” said analysts at Wedbush. “In our opinion the new tech bull market has now begun and tech stocks are set up for a strong 2024,” they said.

Hamza Shaban is a reporter for Yahoo Finance covering markets and the economy. Follow Hamza on Twitter @hshaban.

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