Market Watch

Stocks Headed for High 2009 End

With less than a week left until the end of the year, the U.S. stock market looks well-positioned to close on a high. Compared with last year's global financial fallout, the S&P 500 is "poised for what could be the best year since 2003." The S&P is up 66.5 percent since the economy bottomed out in March, whereas in 2008 it was down 38.5 percent. For 2009, the Dow is up 19.9 percent and the Nasdaq is up 45 percent. Analysts are optimistic that these gains mean that 2010 will have a solid start, and economic indicators show that there will be improvements in the housing and labor sectors. Other indicators to look out for in the upcoming weeks include the Conference Board's index of December consumer confidence, the October S&P/Case-Schiller home price index, and the government's weekly jobless claims.