Trading volume in stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) is light this morning on the last trading day of the year, and the major indexes are trading lower. World stocks, however, ended the year on a high note. World stocks closed out 2009 higher, closing out a 9-month-long bull run in the markets, reports Pan Pylas for the Associated Press. Many markets around the world advanced 50% or more this year. Asia was the real standout: this year, the Shanghai index moved 80% higher, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added more than 50%.
- SPDR S&P All World ex-U.S. (NYSEArca: GWL): up 28.7% year-to-date
Commodities also saw their best yearly rally since 1970 as China kept in place policies that aided in pulling the world out of a recession, report Sandy Hendry and Will Kennedy for Bloomberg. China’s hefty imports of raw materials such as industrial metals and energy played a key role in boosting commodity prices in 2009.
- iShares S&P GSCI Commodity-Indexed Trust (NYSEArca: GSG): up 10.8% year-to-date
In another bit of good news to close out the New Year, jobless claims declined by an unexpected 22,000 last week, the Associated Press reports. The total number of claims was 432,000, the lowest number since July 2008. Economists had been expecting an increase. This news brings the four-week average lower for the 17th consecutive week.
Happy New Year!