The Most Hilarious Year-End S&P 500 Finish in Market History

Yeah I said it.

So much screaming and yelling and blogging and digging and questioning and panicking and crying and fighting and analyzing and hand-wringing and soiled diapers – and at the end, the S&P 500 closes down less than 5 tenths of a percent, de facto breakeven on the year.  Listen closely – the Gods are mocking us; the very heavens and firmament shake with their bellicose laughter.

Here’s my friend Steven Russolillo at the Journal with a rundown of a ludicrous end to a ludicrous year:

The three main U.S. stock indexes offered something for bulls, bears and the indifferent this past year: the Dow was up, the S&P was flat and the Nasdaq was down.

And the ride from the beginning of the year through Friday was volatile and filled with uncertainties and the unexpected.

It came down to the wire, but in the final minute of 2011 trading, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index closed the year virtually unchanged from where it closed in 2010. The S&P 500 closed Friday down 5.42 points, or 0.43%, to 1257.60. The full-year decline of 0.04 point, or 0.0028%, was the smallest annual move since at least 1947, according to preliminary S&P calculations. S&P Indices scrambled after the close of trading to determine an extra decimal place in the 1947 data to figure out which was the slimmer move of the two years.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fared better in 2011. The Dow finished down 69.48 points, or 0.57%, to 12217.56 on Friday, but closed the year up 5.53%. The blue-chip index closed the fourth quarter up 12%, its biggest quarterly percentage jump since 2003.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 8.59 points, or 0.3%, to 2605.15, and closed the year down 1.8%.

A portfolio loaded with defensive stocks and Treasurys would’ve crushed the market.  Conversely, a portfolio loaded with Netflix, Green Mountain Coffee, Sina, Baidu, silver, palladium and all the other “can’t miss” garbage would’ve impaled you like a Transylvanian dissident.  And the more you “traded the news” this year, the more your portfolio came out of it looking like ground hamburger meat, let’s keep it real.

But enough about the 2011 hilarity.  What’s next?

Source:

Dow Gains 5.5% in 2011, as S&P Ends Flat (WSJ)

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