March 19, 2019

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Stocks Rise as Wall St.’s Terrible December Comes to a Close

Stocks Rise as Wall St.’s Terrible December Comes to a Close
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A turbulent year on Wall Street ended with a small gain for stocks on Monday.

The trade war, and its potential to erode corporate profits and slow the economy, has ranked high among investors’ concerns this year, and any indication that tension was ratcheting higher or easing served as a catalyst for swings in stock indexes. The latest was a tweet on Saturday from President Trump in which he said “big progress” was being made in talks between the United States and China.

Still, the overall gains on Monday were small, with the S&P 500 up 0.85 percent. Mr. Trump has in the past made positive statements about China only to reverse course and issue new threats soon after.

For the year, the index dropped more than 6 percent. It isn’t just the trade war that has weighed markets down in 2018. Though the United States economy has remained relatively healthy, China, Japan and Germany have all shown signs of slowing lately. And investors are wary that rising interest rates could erode profits, in particular after companies borrowed heavily because the cost of debt was so low.

Reporters at The New York Times have tracked the markets’ changing mood this year, writing about everything from early warnings on the economy to the spikes in turbulence in February and December, and the impact of rising interest rates on investments. Here are some of our best reads on the big themes that governed financial markets this year.

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