Stock Market Today: Stocks Close Stellar Year on a Quiet Note

The main market indexes finished lower in the final trading session of 2023.
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(Image credit: Getty Images)

Volume was razor-thin Friday ahead of the long holiday weekend. As a reminder, the stock and bond markets will be closed Monday for the New Year's Day holiday. Based on today's price action, it seems the market participants who stuck around chose to take some profits following the market's impressive run in 2023.  

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.05% at 37,689, the S&P 500 was off 0.3% at 4,769, and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.6% to 15,011.

Still, all three indexes notched impressive calendar-year returns. The Dow rose a respectable 13.7%, while the S&P 500 tallied a 24.3% annual gain. 

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The tech-heavy Nasdaq outpaced its peers in 2023, though, surging 43.4% amid strength in the Magnificent 7 – a group of growth stocks that includes mega caps Alphabet (GOOGL, -0.4%), Amazon.com (AMZN, -0.9%) and Nvidia (NVDA, 0.0%). 

Apple can reach $4 trillion market cap in 2024, analyst says 

Nvidia was easily the best performer of the bunch, more than tripling on an annual basis. The worst-performing Magnificent 7 stock in 2023 was Apple (AAPL, -0.5%) with its 48.4% gain. However, Wedbush analyst thinks Apple stock has plenty of room to run in the new year. 

"We believe Apple will be the first $4 trillion market cap by the end of 2024 given the pace of growth and monetization we estimate for Cupertino over the next year," Ives recently wrote in a note to clients. 

Lingering worries about government iPhone bans in China, as well as a "growth demise story" for the tech giant are overblown, Ives says. Rather, investors should be encouraged by positive supply chain checks from Asia, rebounding Services revenue and "what we view as a new tech bull market beginning," the analyst notes. 

Apple closed at $192.53 Friday, a $2.99 trillion market cap. To hit the $4 trillion market cap mark, AAPL's share price would need to rise about 34% from current levels to about $257.25.

Bonds, Bitcoin boom to end 2024

Stocks were by no means alone in having a terrific 2023. While the bond market was beaten up for most of the year, it staged a massive end-of-year rally. In November and December alone, the yield on the 10-year Treasury yield tumbled more than one percentage point to 3.86%. (Bond prices and interest rates move in opposite directions.) , this is the biggest two-month slide in rates since 2008.

Cryptocurrencies also rebounded sharply in 2023 on hope that the first spot bitcoin ETF (exchange-traded fund) could soon gain regulatory approval. Bitcoin, for its part, more than doubled this calendar-year and heads into 2024 trading at its highest point since the spring of 2022. 

What's in store for 2024?

There's a laundry list of uncertainties that folks will need to brace for in the new year, including the Fed's plans for interest rates, geopolitical risks and the upcoming U.S. presidential election. 

Tactical investors trying to figure out how to survive the stock market will want to follow Kiplinger's roadmap for where to invest in 2024.

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Senior Investing Editor, 49ermike.com
With over a decade of experience writing about the stock market, Karee Venema is the senior investing editor at 49ermike.com. She joined the publication in April 2021 after 10 years of working as an investing writer and columnist at Schaeffer's Investment Research. In her previous role, Karee focused primarily on options trading, as well as technical, fundamental and sentiment analysis.