Banks stocks closed out 2009 on a slightly sour note but overall were much better off than they were nine months ago.
The KBW Bank Index closed Thursday at 42.71, down 0.21%. Though down 3.6% from the end of 2008, the index more than doubled from its low in March, when the financial crisis was still in full swing.
Small banks fared worse. The ABA/Nasdaq Community Bank Index finished the year 21.4% lower than a year earlier.
This week 10 small banks received $29.26 million in capital, becoming the last to receive capital under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Through the program, launched in October 2008, the Treasury Department has provided 707 U.S. banks with $204.9 billion in capital.
U.S. stocks fell broadly Thursday in the final trading session of 2009, a strong year for stocks.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 120.46 points, or 1.14%, to 10,428 in Thursday's session. It rose 1651.66 points, or 18.82%, for the year, its biggest yearly point gain since 2006 and its best year on a percentage basis since 2003. The measure is up 59.28% from its 12-year closing low of 6547.05 on March 9, but still 26.38% below its record close of 14,164 hit on Oct. 9, 2007. For the month of December the Dow climbed 0.8%.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. was the Dow's lone gainer Thursday. It edged up 14, or 0.3%, to 41.67.
For the year, American Express was the Dow's best-performing component, with a 118% gain.
The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index fell 22.13, or 0.97%, Thursday, to 2269.15. It surged 43.89% this year and rose 5.81% this month. The measure recorded its biggest yearly point gain since 1999 and the second-biggest yearly point gain in its history. On a percentage basis, the Nasdaq had its best year since 2003.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 11.32, or 1%, to 1115.10, in Thursday's session. All its sectors fell, with utilities recording the biggest decline and financials posting the smallest drop. The S&P 500 climbed 1.78% for the month and 23.45% for the year.
As the market readies for the new trading year to begin Monday, Kelli Hill, portfolio manager at Ashfield Capital Partners, noted that retail investors remain skeptical of the stock market despite its strong gains in 2009.
"We're in the midst of a recovery and that's clearly felt in the institutional world, but the individual investor, he's still very fearful," Hill said. "There's still a big disconnect between what the equity markets have done versus how people feel about their personal economic situation."