Jan. 1 (UPI) — The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 rose to record highs at the end of trading on Thursday to close 2020.
The Dow rose 196.92 points, or 0.65%, to close at a record 30,606.48 while the S&P 500 rose 0.64% to 3,756.07 points. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.14%.
Intel stock rose 2.19% to lead the Dow higher, while the S&P 500’s financials and utilities sectors each rose more than 1% to propel the index to a year-end gain.
While the COVID-19 pandemic rocked the stock market early in the year, all three benchmarks closed with gains for a second consecutive year.
“2020 is coming to an end. Unfortunately, 2021 is going to start out looking a lot like 2020, but hopefully, by the end of the year, it’s looking more like something better,” Bespoke Investment Group co-founder Paul Hickey wrote in a note to clients.
Equities fell in February and March at the onset of the pandemic, however, the Federal Reserve stepped in to shore up credit markets, leading to a strong rebound through the end of the year.
Despite modest gains on Thursday, the Nasdaq was the best performing index in 2020, gaining 43.6% for the year, it’s best one-year performance since 2009, as tech stocks soared amid the pandemic.
The S&P 500 has gained 16.3% in a volatile 2020 that saw it close up or down at least 1% on 110 of the 253 trading days, compared to 38 days in 2019, including two rallies of more than 9% and a drop of 12% in March.
Rounding out the three benchmarks was the Dow, which rose 7.3% in 2020.