Stocks close lower, but S&P 500 caps best year since 2013

Stocks ended lower Friday, the last trading day of the year, but the S&P 500 still posted its best year since 2013.

Telecommunications led seven sectors lower, while consumer staples were the top gainers. The Dow lost 118 points, the S&P 500 shed 0.52 percent, and the Nasdaq lost 0.67 percent.

But the S&P gained about 20 percent this year, with technology and consumer discretionary the top performers. Only energy and telecommunications have declined this year.

Stocks opened higher but struggled to hold opening gains. The Nasdaq underperformed the major U.S. indexes as two of the largest names in the index, Apple and Amazon, fell.

Goldman Sachs fell more than 1 percent and had the greatest negative impact in the Dow. The company disclosed in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that the financial giant expects fourth-quarter earnings to decrease by about $5 billion, primarily due to repatriation provisions in the new U.S. tax law President Donald Trump signed Friday.

The law requires companies to repatriate, or bring back, foreign earnings, beginning in 2018, with the option of paying taxes on those earnings over eight years. The special one-time tax rate is 8 percent for illiquid assets and 15.5 percent for cash.

The new law also cuts the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent. Stocks have soared in anticipation of the stimulative effects of the tax cut.

Gold and oil prices extended recent gains Friday.

Gold futures expiring in February settled up 0.93 percent at $1,309.30 after hitting their highest since Sept. 26. The precious metal futures gained 13.68 percent for the year, their best since 2010.

U.S. crude oil futures closed above $60 for first time in 2.5 years, settling at $60.42 for a gain of 12.5 percent for the year.

Copper settled 0.2 percent lower after rising for 15-straight sessions to a near four-year high Thursday. Copper gained 31.7 percent this year, its best since 2010.

The U.S. dollar index traded near 92.23, its lowest since Sept. 25. The euro climbed to $1.20, its highest since Sept. 22.

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