Stock Markets End Year on Positive Note

Best performances since the '90s


U.S. stocks advanced modestly on Tuesday, boosted by a solid consumer confidence reading, keeping the S&P 500 on track for its best year since 1997 and the Dow on pace to record its best performance since 1995.

The S&P 500 is up 29.5 percent for the year and all 10 sector indexes will end the year in positive territory. The Dow is up 26 percent, as investors rode the Federal Reserve's extraordinary stimulus and expectations for improved growth in a year that had only the slightest of hiccups.

The Fed recently announced it will trim its monthly bond purchases in response to an improving economic picture, but that has still not deterred equities.