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Stocks have worst annual performance since 2008

December 31, 2015

Stocks closed out 2015 on a downbeat note.

Major U.S. indexes declined Thursday, the last day of the year, putting a main market benchmark slightly in the red for 2015.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index gave up 19 points, or 1 percent, to close at 2,043. The index ended the year down 0.73 percent after three straight years of double-digit gains. The S&P 500's last major negative year was in 2008, when it lost 38.49 percent.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 178 points, or 1 percent, at 17,425. The Dow was off 2.23 percent for the year, its first negative year since 2008, when the index lost more than 30 percent.

The Nasdaq composite declined 58 points, or 1.2 percent, to 5,007 on Thursday, but finished up 5.5 percent on the year.

“This is the most poetic way you could end the year,” said Jeff Clark, an analyst at Stansberry & Associates in San Francisco. “The market has basically done nothing. We’ve had some attempts to rally and some attempts to drop, but it’s been a pretty frustrating year for trading. The momentum is in the bearish camp right now.”

Markets are closed Friday for the New Year's Day holiday. Trading volume has been thin all week, and the number of shares changing hands on U.S. exchanges Wednesday was the lowest for a full session this year.

Meanwhile, stocks in Indiana had a disappointing year overall. The Bloomberg Indiana index, which tracks 54 public companies based in the Hoosier state, closed Friday at 97.14, down 7.3 percent for the year. The index hit a 2015 high of 110.62 in March and a low of 95.47 in mid-December.

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