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U.S. stocks open slightly higher today, the final trading session of 2008. No mixing words, it was a terrible year for stock markets around the world. Year to date, the Dow Industrials is down nearly 35%, the S&P 500 has lost 40%, and the Nasdaq Composite is off almost 42%. So far this morning, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 35 points to 8,704. The S&P 500 index rose 2 points to 893 while the Nasdaq composite rose 4 points to 1,555. Very little news this morning. The techs look okay with Google and IBM improving of late. No bounce in the financials, particularly the big banks. The Treasury made a statement that they have overspend their $350 billion allotment of the TARP fund. Great. The commodities are weak as oil declines once again, ending its best, then worse year in history. Oil is set to close out the year down 60%. Through the first hour the averages inched higher on light volume. Through the morning the averages remained in the green, not far from the highs of the day. Mortgage rates keep inching lower. The 30 year fixed is down to 5.1%. Not bad. Next stop 4.5%? Through the afternoon the averages remained in the green on light volume. Oil has rebounded along with most of the commodities. Gold closed higher for the eighth straight year. Not bad. Entering the last hour, the Dow looked good up over 100 points. GM is one of the few Dow components lower. The Nasdaq is up 31 points. The techs are definitely acting better. In the last hour, the averages remained strong. It looks like we're closing out an awful year on an up note. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 108 points at 8776. The Dow dropped 53 points for the month and a measly 4, 488 points for the year for a 33.8% decline. The S&P 500 Index rose 12 points today to end at 903. The S&P was up for the month, but down 38% for the worse year since 1937. The Nasdaq Composite gained 26 points to close at 1,577. The technology-heavy index rose 42 points on the month, but down 40.5% for the year. On to 2009.
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