NEW YORK, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks closed out a stellar year in 2013, with major stock indices logging their best annual gains in over a decade, helped by an improving U.S. economy and the Federal Reserve's massive stimulus.
Analysts believed that with the Fed policy expected to stay supportive, along with a brighter U.S. economic outlook, better corporate earnings, and a stabilizing global economy, U.S. stocks are expected to stage another good year in 2014 following the outstanding performance in 2013.
BEST YEAR IN OVER A DECADE
After Tuesday's trading, the final trading day of 2013, the Dow Jones Industrial Average set its 52nd record close of this year, up 72.37 points, or 0.44 percent, to 16,576.66. The S&P 500 added 7.29 points, or 0.40 percent, to 1,848.36, also a new record closing high. The Nasdaq Composite Index increased 22.39 points, or 0.54 percent, to 4,176.59, another more-than-13-year high.
The blue-chip Dow is up 26.5 percent, its best annual gain since 1995. The broader S&P 500 climbed up 29.6 percent, its best year since 1997. The tech-heavy Nasdaq notched a 38.3-percent gain in 2013, the biggest gain since 2009.
"It was an excellent year for the stock market," Gordon Charlop, the managing director at Rosenblatt Securities Inc., told Xinhua Tuesday. The market is "far better than I thought they would do when the year started."
"Each negative geopolitical headline that was thrown at the equity market that historically would detract the market progress didn't happen (in 2013)," said Jason Weisberg, a senior trader at Seaport Securities, on Tuesday.
Charlop attributed the strong market to a combination of factors, including the U.S. Federal Reserve's friendly policy to investors, improvement in the overall U.S. economy, some reduction in unemployment rate, stability in housing market, lower inflation and continuing corporate earnings growth.
Looking back, both the Dow and the S&P 500 repeatedly hit new all-time highs throughout 2013. The Dow has hit its psychologically-important round-number milestones of 15,000 points and 16,000 points in May and November respectively, for the first time in history.
The benchmark S&P 500 also cleared its round-number levels that it had never touched in history for three times in 2013 to end well above 1,800 points, while the Nasdaq pierced through 4,000 points for the first time since September 2000.
Among the S&P 500's ten sectors, consumer discretionary, health care and industrials were the three top performing sectors in 2013, gaining 41.0 percent, 38.7 percent and 37.6 percent, respectively.