Farewell to a hard 2018 on Wall Street

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Wall Street closed higher in the final session of 2018 on Monday, but the year proved to be the worst for USA stocks since the financial crisis a decade ago.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 265.06 points, or 1.15 percent, to 23,327.46, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 21.11 points, or 0.85 percent, to 2,506.85 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 50.76 points, or 0.77 percent, to 6,635.28. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 67.71 points, or 1.03 percent, to 6,652.23.

Trading volume was relatively light, owing to the holiday as the US federal government shutdown entered its tenth day.

In small caps, the Russell 2000 closed at 1,348.56 for a gain of 10.64 points or 0.80%. Meanwhile, the official Xinhua News Agency cited a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying that "China stands ready to work with the United States to move forward the China-U.S. ties which are underpinned by co-ordination, co-operation and stability".

Traders were encouraged by news that President Donald Trump said he expected to resolve trade friction with China after speaking with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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TECH RALLY: Big-name technology companies, a big driver of the market's gains before things deteriorated in October, also rose.

Stocks are snapping higher in early trading on Wall Street on the last day of a volatile year as hopes grew for progress in resolving trade frictions between the US and China. It advanced 72 cents to $45.33 per barrel on Friday. Best Buy gained 2 per cent to $52.39.

WEAK SIGNALS: Shares in internet service providers and media companies slumped. According to a deal struck between the USA and China on December1, the two economic powerhouses have until March 1 (90 days) to try to work out their differences on trade. Brent crude, the benchmark for global prices, gained 84 cents to $54.05 per barrel.

Cabot Oil & Gas dropped 3 per cent to $22.26.

OVERSEAS: In Europe, the CAC 40 of France rose 1.1 per cent, ending the year down about 11 per cent. Britain's FTSE 100 closed down 0.1 per cent for an annual loss of 12.5 per cent. Germany's DAX, which was closed Monday, has been one of the worst-performing European indexes.

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The government remained partially shut down through the end of the year with Democrats taking majority of the House of Representatives when discussions reconvene on Thursday, Jan. 3. On Monday, the two-year Treasury yield also reported its largest monthly decrease in 10 years, which could further help the outlook for stocks.

In other trading, the dollar fell to 109.63 yen from 110.41 yen on Friday. The euro strengthened to $1.1445 from $1.1442.

But the recent slide in stocks means valuations are more reasonable, while some market watchers said last week that Wall Street was becoming more confident about the Federal Reserve's approach to interest rate policy and monetary tightening.

The autumn sell-off knocked the benchmark S&P 500 index into a correction, or a drop of 10 percent from its all-time high, for the second time in nine months. Copper lost 1.9 per cent to $2.63 a pound.

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