U.S. stocks closed lower on Thursday, capping the worst year for the market since 2008.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index ended essentially flat for the year after the day’s modest losses nudged it into the red for 2015. Even factoring in dividends, the index eked out a far smaller return than in 2014.
The Dow Jones industrial average also closed out the year with a loss. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite fared better, delivering a gain for the year.
“It’s a lousy end to a pretty lousy year,” said Edward Campbell, portfolio manager for QMA, a unit of Prudential Investment Management. “A very unrewarding year.”
Trading was lighter than usual on Thursday ahead of the New Year’s Day holiday. Technology stocks were among the biggest decliners, while energy stocks eked out a tiny gain thanks to a rebound in crude oil and natural gas prices.
The Dow ended the day down 178.84 points, or 1 percent, to 17,425.03. The S&P 50 index lost 19.42 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,043.94. The Nasdaq composite fell 58.43 points, or 1.2 percent, to 5,007.41.
For 2015, the Dow registered a loss of 2.2 percent. It’s the first down year for the Dow since 2008. The Nasdaq ended with a gain of 5.7 percent.
The S&P 500 index, regarded as a benchmark for the broader stock market, lost 0.7 percent for the year.
According to preliminary calculations, the index had a total return for the year of just 1.4 percent, including dividends. That’s the worst return since 2008 and down sharply down from the 13.7 percent it returned in 2014.