Stocks Take Breather Before Year End

Stocks fell from their all-time highs on Monday, the penultimate trading day of a record-breaking year for equities.

The Dow Jones Industrials faltered 117.32 points from Friday’s record close of 28,527.94

The S&P 500 fell 20.76 points to 3,219.26. Tech was the worst-performing sector among the 11 S&P 500 groupings.

The NASDAQ got clobbered 86.44 points to 8,920.17.

U.S. equities have enjoyed a strong rally in December, with the main indexes hitting record highs last week amid year-end optimism. The S&P 500 has notched five straight weeks of gains, rising 29.2% in 2019. The benchmark is within reach of a historic year, sitting about a percentage point away from having its best year since 1997.

Some of the biggest winners of the year, including Apple, Microsoft and Visa, all slipped about 1% on Monday as investors took profits. Apple has skyrocketed 82% and Microsoft has gained 55%, to lead market gains.

The advance report on the U.S. trade in goods on Friday showed the trade deficit shrank to its narrowest since 2016 in November.

Market sentiment has been boosted by the easing tensions over U.S.-China trade relations. The world’s two largest economies agreed earlier this month to a so-called “phase one” trade deal.

The South China Morning Post reported Monday Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, the nation’s top trade negotiator, will visit Washington this week to sign the agreement. The newspaper, citing a source briefed on the matter, said the Chinese delegation will stay in the U.S. for a few days until the middle of next week.

Prices for the 10-Year U.S. Treasury slumbered, raising yields to 1.92% from Friday’s 1.88%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices squeezed up two cents to $61.74 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices picked up 20 cents at $1,518.30 U.S. an ounce.

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