Stocks Begin December Above Year-Long High

Stocks were slightly higher on Friday to kick off December trading after the Dow Jones Industrial Average notched a new 2023 high and capped off its best month in more than a year.

The 30-stock index prospered 61.04 points at 36,011.93,

The S&P 500 dipped 3.92 points to 4,563.05.

The NASDAQ subsided 57.85 points, to 14,168.36.

Traders were waiting to see what Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will say later Friday. Powell is speaking in a fireside chat at 11 a.m. ET at Spelman College. November’s big rally was due in part to traders beginning to believe the Fed was done raising rates and that the central bank may even start cutting them in the first half of next year. The Fed next decides on rates on Dec. 13.

November’s gains snapped a three-month losing streak. The S&P jumped 8.9% and the NASDAQ rallied 10.7%, to notch their best monthly performances since July 2022. The Dow surged 8.8% for its best month since October 2022.

Prices for the 10-year Treasury gained ground, lowering yields to 4.31% from Thursday’s 4.33%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained a dime to $76.06 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices climbed $10.60 to $2,048.70.