The stock market ended deeply negative in December, with the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), NASDAQ, and Russell 2000 each losing over 8%. The worst market performance in December since 1931 sent the S&P 500, DJIA, and NASDAQ into negative territory for the year, with the S&P 500 down 6.2%, the DJIA down 5.6%, and NASDAQ down 3.9%. The Russell 2000 was down 12.2% in 2018. The year accounted for the worst market performance since 2008.
The market in 2018 will be remembered for its volatility. The S&P 500 set a record high on September 20th, and the DJIA set its record high on October 3rd. In a seven day stretch in December, the DJIA lost 350 points or more six times. The index suffered its worst Christmas Eve by trading down 653 points and rose its highest ever at 1,086 points the next trading day.
The year was characterized by a strong economy offset by unease surrounding trade tensions with China, Canada, Mexico, and Europe. Towards the end of the year, treasury spreads inverted, and certain economic indicators began to show slowing, causing uncertainty heading into 2019.