What a difference a year makes. The U.S. stock market kicked off the first day of trading of 2017 with solid gains, a year after plunging in the opening session of 2016 on its way to its worst week to start a year ever.
The benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index — which closed up 0.9% to 2258 — posted a gain on the first trading day of a new year for the first time since 2013. Last year, the large-company stock index cratered 1.53% on January’s first trading session — its sixth-worst Day 1 percentage loss and worst annual kickoff since 2001 — on its way to a worst-ever first week of the year decline of 5.96%, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. The S&P 500, however, rebounded and finished 2016 up 9.5%.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose as much 176 points before pulling back and finishing up 119 points, or 0.6%, to 19,882. The blue-chip index came within 105 points of 20,000 after a late-year flirtation with the milestone fell short. The technology-packed Nasdaq rose 0.9% and the small-company Russell 2000 stock index, which gained 19.5% in 2016, finished up 0.5%.