December 31, 2008

U.S. markets up final day of year

U.S. stock indexes closed out a wild year on a positive note Wednesday with a final and light trading day.

Good news came early as the government said there were 94,000 fewer first-time claims for unemployment benefits filed in the week ending Dec. 27. Otherwise, there were no major reports on New Year's Eve day with many traders out of town.

By close, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 108.00 points, or 1.25 percent, to 8,776.39. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 1.42 percent, 12.61 points, to 903.25. The Nasdaq composite index gained 26.33 points, 1.7 percent, to 1,577.03.

On the New York Stock Exchange, 2,651 stocks advanced and 491 declined on a volume of 3.8 billion shares traded.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury bond fell 1 17/32 to yield 2.216 percent.

The dollar rose Wednesday. The euro fell to $1.3981, compared to Tuesday's $1.4074. Against the Japanese yen, the dollar rose to 90.69 yen, up from Tuesday's 90.30 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei average gained 112.39 points to 8,859.56, up 2.09 percent.

In London, the FTSE 100 index gained 0.94 percent, 41.49 points, to 4,434.17.