Wall Street rises to cap off turbulent year

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street advanced in low-volume trading on Monday as revelers gathered to ring in 2019, marking the end of the worst year for U.S. stocks since 2008, the height of the financial crisis.

Wall Street entered correction territory in late January and was challenged for much of 2018 by tariff jitters, rising interest rates, and fears of diminishing corporate profits.

"Investors got complacent," said Thomas Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt Investments in Atlanta. "People were positioned for the lack of volatility, and when that changed because of trade concerns and interest rates, people started repositioning and that started the cascade."

December was a particularly trying month for U.S. equities. The S&P 500 <.SPX> saw its worst December since the Great Depression and the Nasdaq <.IXIC> confirmed it was in a bear market, or 20 percent below its high. All three are down about 9 percent since the beginning of the month.

RELATED: Scenes from Wall Street's worst week in a decade

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Scenes from Wall Street's worst week in a decade
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 21: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on December 21, 2018 in New York City. Following another down day and one of the worst trading months in recent history, investors are nervously looking for positive economic and political news to gain back some of the loses. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 21: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on December 21, 2018 in New York City. Following another down day and one of the worst trading months in recent history, investors are nervously looking for positive economic and political news to gain back some of the loses. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 21: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on December 21, 2018 in New York City. Following another down day and one of the worst trading months in recent history, investors are nervously looking for positive economic and political news to gain back some of the loses. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 21: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on December 21, 2018 in New York City. Following another down day and one of the worst trading months in recent history, investors are nervously looking for positive economic and political news to gain back some of the loses. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 21: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on December 21, 2018 in New York City. Following another down day and one of the worst trading months in recent history, investors are nervously looking for positive economic and political news to gain back some of the loses. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 21: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on December 21, 2018 in New York City. Following another down day and one of the worst trading months in recent history, investors are nervously looking for positive economic and political news to gain back some of the loses. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 21: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on December 21, 2018 in New York City. Following another down day and one of the worst trading months in recent history, investors are nervously looking for positive economic and political news to gain back some of the loses. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 20: Traders and financial professionals work ahead of the closing bell on the floor to he New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), December 20, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average continued its tumultuous week, closing down over 460 points on Thursday, one day after the Federal Reserve raised the interest rate. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, Dec. 20, 2018 -- A trader works at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, the United States, Dec. 20, 2018. U.S. stocks closed lower on Thursday as investors digested the central bank's latest rate hike decision. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 464.06 points, or 1.99 percent, to 22,859.60. The S&P 500 fell 39.54 points, or 1.58 percent, to 2,467.42. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 108.42 points, or 1.63 percent, to 6,528.41. (Xinhua/Wang Ying) (Xinhua/Wang Ying via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 20: Traders and financial professionals work ahead of the closing bell on the floor to he New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), December 20, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average continued its tumultuous week, closing down over 460 points on Thursday, one day after the Federal Reserve raised the interest rate. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 20: President Donald Trump is displayed on a screen on the floor to he New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), December 20, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average continued its tumultuous week, closing down over 460 points on Thursday, one day after the Federal Reserve raised the interest rate. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 20: President Donald Trump is displayed on a monitor as a trader works at his desk ahead of the closing bell on the floor to he New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), December 20, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average continued its tumultuous week, closing down over 460 points on Thursday, one day after the Federal Reserve raised the interest rate. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 20: A monitor displays the days' final numbers on the floor to he New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), December 20, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average continued its tumultuous week, closing down over 460 points on Thursday, one day after the Federal Reserve raised the interest rate. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 20: President Donald Trump is displayed on a monitor as a trader works at his desk ahead of the closing bell on the floor to he New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), December 20, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average continued its tumultuous week, closing down over 460 points on Thursday, one day after the Federal Reserve raised the interest rate. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 20: Traders and financial professionals work ahead of the closing bell on the floor to he New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), December 20, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average continued its tumultuous week, closing down over 460 points on Thursday, one day after the Federal Reserve raised the interest rate. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 20: Traders and financial professionals work ahead of the closing bell on the floor to he New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), December 20, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average continued its tumultuous week, closing down over 460 points on Thursday, one day after the Federal Reserve raised the interest rate. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 20: A trader works at his desk ahead of the closing bell on the floor to he New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), December 20, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average continued its tumultuous week, closing down over 460 points on Thursday, one day after the Federal Reserve raised the interest rate. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 20: A monitor displays the days' final numbers on the floor to he New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), December 20, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average continued its tumultuous week, closing down over 460 points on Thursday, one day after the Federal Reserve raised the interest rate. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Traders with Livermore Securities at the New York Stock Exchange follow the news from the Federal Reserve Board of a rate increase, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Traders at the New York Stock Exchange listen as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is seen on a video screen giving a news conference from Washington after the Fed announced a rate increase, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Stock traders work at the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
A monitor displays stock market information on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. U.S. stocks careened to a 15-month low after Jerome Powell failed to quell investor angst that the Federal Reserve's tightening policy will throttle economic growth. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Traders work on the floor at the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange on December 19, 2018 in New York. - Wll Street stocks tumbled Wednesday, December 19, 2018 after the Federal Reserve lifted interest rates while pledging a cautious approach to additional interest rate hikes next year. At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.5 percent, about 350 points, at 23,324.10. The broad-based S&P dropped 1.5 percent to 2,506.87, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index sank 2.2 percent to 6,635.48. Major indices had been up about one percent prior to the Fed announcement. (Photo by Bryan R. Smith / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
A television broadcasts Jerome Powell, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, announcing an increase in the Federal Reserve interest rate as a trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. U.S. stocks careened to a 15-month low after Jerome Powell failed to quell investor angst that the Federal Reserve's tightening policy will throttle economic growth. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The closing numbers are displayed after the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange on December 19, 2018 in New York. - Wll Street stocks tumbled Wednesday, December 19, 2018 after the Federal Reserve lifted interest rates while pledging a cautious approach to additional interest rate hikes next year. At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.5 percent, about 350 points, at 23,324.10. The broad-based S&P dropped 1.5 percent to 2,506.87, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index sank 2.2 percent to 6,635.48. Major indices had been up about one percent prior to the Fed announcement. (Photo by Bryan R. Smith / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
Traders work on the floor at the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange on December 19, 2018 in New York. - Wll Street stocks tumbled Wednesday, December 19, 2018 after the Federal Reserve lifted interest rates while pledging a cautious approach to additional interest rate hikes next year. At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.5 percent, about 350 points, at 23,324.10. The broad-based S&P dropped 1.5 percent to 2,506.87, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index sank 2.2 percent to 6,635.48. Major indices had been up about one percent prior to the Fed announcement. (Photo by Bryan R. Smith / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
Traders work on the floor at the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange on December 19, 2018 in New York. - Wll Street stocks tumbled Wednesday, December 19, 2018 after the Federal Reserve lifted interest rates while pledging a cautious approach to additional interest rate hikes next year. At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.5 percent, about 350 points, at 23,324.10. The broad-based S&P dropped 1.5 percent to 2,506.87, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index sank 2.2 percent to 6,635.48. Major indices had been up about one percent prior to the Fed announcement. (Photo by Bryan R. Smith / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
Traders work on the floor at the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange on December 19, 2018 in New York. - Wll Street stocks tumbled Wednesday, December 19, 2018 after the Federal Reserve lifted interest rates while pledging a cautious approach to additional interest rate hikes next year. At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.5 percent, about 350 points, at 23,324.10. The broad-based S&P dropped 1.5 percent to 2,506.87, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index sank 2.2 percent to 6,635.48. Major indices had been up about one percent prior to the Fed announcement. (Photo by Bryan R. Smith / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
Traders work on the floor at the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange on December 19, 2018 in New York. - Wll Street stocks tumbled Wednesday, December 19, 2018 after the Federal Reserve lifted interest rates while pledging a cautious approach to additional interest rate hikes next year. At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.5 percent, about 350 points, at 23,324.10. The broad-based S&P dropped 1.5 percent to 2,506.87, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index sank 2.2 percent to 6,635.48. Major indices had been up about one percent prior to the Fed announcement. (Photo by Bryan R. Smith / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
Traders work on the floor at the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange on December 19, 2018 in New York. - Wll Street stocks tumbled Wednesday, December 19, 2018 after the Federal Reserve lifted interest rates while pledging a cautious approach to additional interest rate hikes next year. At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.5 percent, about 350 points, at 23,324.10. The broad-based S&P dropped 1.5 percent to 2,506.87, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index sank 2.2 percent to 6,635.48. Major indices had been up about one percent prior to the Fed announcement. (Photo by Bryan R. Smith / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
Traders work on the floor at the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange on December 19, 2018 in New York. - Wll Street stocks tumbled Wednesday, December 19, 2018 after the Federal Reserve lifted interest rates while pledging a cautious approach to additional interest rate hikes next year. At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.5 percent, about 350 points, at 23,324.10. The broad-based S&P dropped 1.5 percent to 2,506.87, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index sank 2.2 percent to 6,635.48. Major indices had been up about one percent prior to the Fed announcement. (Photo by Bryan R. Smith / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
Traders work on the floor at the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange on December 19, 2018 in New York. - Wll Street stocks tumbled Wednesday, December 19, 2018 after the Federal Reserve lifted interest rates while pledging a cautious approach to additional interest rate hikes next year. At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.5 percent, about 350 points, at 23,324.10. The broad-based S&P dropped 1.5 percent to 2,506.87, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index sank 2.2 percent to 6,635.48. Major indices had been up about one percent prior to the Fed announcement. (Photo by Bryan R. Smith / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
Traders work on the floor at the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange on December 19, 2018 in New York. - Wll Street stocks tumbled Wednesday, December 19, 2018 after the Federal Reserve lifted interest rates while pledging a cautious approach to additional interest rate hikes next year. At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.5 percent, about 350 points, at 23,324.10. The broad-based S&P dropped 1.5 percent to 2,506.87, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index sank 2.2 percent to 6,635.48. Major indices had been up about one percent prior to the Fed announcement. (Photo by Bryan R. Smith / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 19: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) after the Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell held a news conference on December 19, 2018 in New York City. U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the fourth time in 2018. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 19: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) after the Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell held a news conference on December 19, 2018 in New York City. U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the fourth time in 2018. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
A television broadcasts Jerome Powell, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, announcing an increase in the Federal Reserve interest rate on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. U.S. stocks careened to a 15-month low after Jerome Powell failed to quell investor angst that the Federal Reserve's tightening policy will throttle economic growth. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. U.S. stocks careened to a 15-month low after Jerome Powell failed to quell investor angst that the Federal Reserve's tightening policy will throttle economic growth. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A monitor displays stock market information on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. U.S. stocks careened to a 15-month low after Jerome Powell failed to quell investor angst that the Federal Reserve's tightening policy will throttle economic growth. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A monitor displays an S&P 500 chart on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. U.S. stocks careened to a 15-month low after Jerome Powell failed to quell investor angst that the Federal Reserve's tightening policy will throttle economic growth. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Traders watch a television broadcasting Jerome Powell, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, announcing an increase in the Federal Reserve interest rate on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. U.S. stocks careened to a 15-month low after Jerome Powell failed to quell investor angst that the Federal Reserve's tightening policy will throttle economic growth. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. U.S. stocks careened to a 15-month low after Jerome Powell failed to quell investor angst that the Federal Reserve's tightening policy will throttle economic growth. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. U.S. stocks careened to a 15-month low after Jerome Powell failed to quell investor angst that the Federal Reserve's tightening policy will throttle economic growth. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. U.S. stocks careened to a 15-month low after Jerome Powell failed to quell investor angst that the Federal Reserve's tightening policy will throttle economic growth. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. U.S. stocks careened to a 15-month low after Jerome Powell failed to quell investor angst that the Federal Reserve's tightening policy will throttle economic growth. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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In the new year, investors hope for the removal of question marks that acted as significant headwinds in 2018, including U.S.-China trade negotiations, the path of U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate hikes, slowing corporate growth and economic fallout from the upcoming departure of Britain from the European Union, or Brexit, among other concerns.

As 2019 gets underway, "investors will be looking to corporate earnings, what happens with the trade negotiations and the body language of the Fed," Martin added.

On Monday, renewed hopes for a resolution to the U.S.-China trade dispute provided a glimmer of optimism for investors.

U.S. President Donald Trump indicated on Twitter that progress had been made toward a potential settlement of trade tensions between the United States and China which have plagued stock markets for much of the year.

Trading volume was relatively light, owing to the holiday as the U.S. federal government shutdown entered its 10th day.

Healthcare <.SPXHC> and tariff-sensitive technology <.SPLRCT> stocks, led by Boeing Co <BA.N> and Caterpillar Inc <CAT.N>, provided the biggest boost to the S&P 500 on Monday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> rose 265.06 points, or 1.15 percent, to 23,327.46, the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 21.11 points, or 0.85 percent, to 2,506.85 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 50.76 points, or 0.77 percent, to 6,635.28.

All 11 major sectors in the S&P 500 ended the session in positive territory. But for the year, only healthcare and utilities <.SPLRCU> ended 2018 higher.

Energy <.SPNY>, materials <.SPLRCM>, communication services <.SPLRCL>, industrials <.SPLRCI> and financials <.SPSY> were the biggest percentage losers of 2018, down between 14.7 percent and 20.5 percent from the beginning of the year.

The 20.5 percent drop of energy stocks in 2018 was largely attributable to crude prices <LCOc1> plunging 38 percent since early October.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.42-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.81-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted no new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded eight new highs and 98 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 7.46 billion shares, compared with the 9.22 billion-share average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

(Reporting by Stephen Culp; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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