Nation’s Oldest WWII Vet Dies at 112

The nation’s oldest World War II veteran has died.

Richard Overton, an African-American soldier who fought during segregation, was 112 years old.

Overton was believed to be the oldest living citizen.  The Texas native died last week after being admitted to the hospital on Christmas Eve with pneumonia.

Overton was born in 1906, near Austin, Texas. In 1940, he joined the Army. Overton was stationed at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked. During his time in in the 1887th Aviation Engineer Battalion, a unit made up of black soldiers, he served overseas in Okinawa and Iwo Jima.

In an interview with NPR’s Morning Edition in 2015, he spoke of his service, stating “it was difficult”.

“I’m glad I didn’t get like some of the others,” Overton stated. “Some got their arms off. Some got their leg off. Some lost their body. Some lost their soul.”

Later in his life, Overton was praised for his service. In 2013, he received an invitation from President Obama to attend a ceremony on Veteran’s Day at Arlington National Cemetery where he received a standing ovation.

“Everybody, I want you to know a little something about Mr. Overton here,” Obama said. “He was there at Pearl Harbor when the battleships were still smoldering. He was there at Okinawa. He was there at Iwo Jima, where he said, ‘I only got out of there by the grace of God.’ “

In 2014, the U.S Coast Guard Mid-Atlantic honored Overton for his service. “He fought and risked his life in service to his country despite the fact that he was not yet treated as an equal back home,” said Capt. James O’Keefe.

After his service, Overton spent many years in the furniture business in Austin. He married twice; divorced his first wife in the 1920s and outlived his second wife who died in the 1980s. He did not have any children but was cared for by a cousin until his death.

The U.S. Army offered prayers via Twitter, stating “Today we mourn not just a hero, but a legend.”

Wall Street rises, limps across the finish line of a turbulent year

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street advanced in low-volume trading on Monday as revelers gathered to ring in 2019, marking the end of the worst year for U.S. stocks since 2008, the height of the financial crisis.

Wall Street entered correction territory in late January and was challenged for much of 2018 by tariff jitters, rising interest rates, and fears of diminishing corporate profits.

“Investors got complacent,” said Thomas Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt Investments in Atlanta. “People were positioned for the lack of volatility, and when that changed because of trade concerns and interest rates, people started repositioning and that started the cascade.”

December was a particularly trying month for U.S. equities. The S&P 500 .SPX saw its worst December since the Great Depression and the Nasdaq .IXIC confirmed it was in a bear market, or 20 percent below its high. All three are down about 9 percent since the beginning of the month.

In the new year, investors hope for the removal of question marks that acted as significant headwinds in 2018, including U.S.-China trade negotiations, the path of U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate hikes, slowing corporate growth and economic fallout from the upcoming departure of Britain from the European Union, or Brexit, among other concerns.

As 2019 gets underway, “investors will be looking to corporate earnings, what happens with the trade negotiations and the body language of the Fed,” Martin added.

On Monday, renewed hopes for a resolution to the U.S.-China trade dispute provided a glimmer of optimism for investors.

U.S. President Donald Trump indicated on Twitter that progress had been made toward a potential settlement of trade tensions between the United States and China which have plagued stock markets for much of the year.

Trading volume was relatively light, owing to the holiday as the U.S. federal government shutdown entered its 10th day.

Healthcare .SPXHC and tariff-sensitive technology .SPLRCT stocks, led by Boeing Co (BA.N) and Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N), provided the biggest boost to the S&P 500 on Monday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 265.06 points, or 1.15 percent, to 23,327.46, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 21.11 points, or 0.85 percent, to 2,506.85 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 50.76 points, or 0.77 percent, to 6,635.28.

All 11 major sectors in the S&P 500 ended the session in positive territory. But for the year, only healthcare and utilities .SPLRCU ended 2018 higher.

Energy .SPNY, materials .SPLRCM, communication services .SPLRCL, industrials .SPLRCI and financials .SPSY were the biggest percentage losers of 2018, down between 14.7 percent and 20.5 percent from the beginning of the year.

The 20.5 percent drop of energy stocks in 2018 was largely attributable to crude prices LCOc1 plunging 38 percent since early October.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 28, 2018. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.42-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.81-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted no new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded eight new highs and 98 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 7.46 billion shares, compared with the 9.22 billion-share average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

Reporting by Stephen Culp; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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Trade optimism lifts stocks, but 2018 ends in red

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Equities around the world rose on Monday as possible progress in resolving the trade dispute between the United States and China engendered some investor optimism in what has been a punishing end of year for markets.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 28, 2018. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

The U.S. benchmark S&P 500 stock index advanced in light trading volume after U.S. President Donald Trump said he held a “very good call” with China’s President Xi Jinping on Saturday to discuss trade and said “big progress” was being made.

Chinese state media were more reserved, saying Xi hoped the negotiating teams could meet each other halfway and reach an agreement that was mutually beneficial.

The rise in U.S. equities mirrored that in Asian and European markets, which were also buoyed by trade optimism.

Despite Monday’s advance, equities ended the year largely in the red, victims of investor anxiety over trade tensions and slowing economic growth. Asian and European shares had been sluggish for much of the year, and in recent months, U.S. stocks followed suit.

“If the European economy continues to decelerate and the Chinese economy decelerates because of tariffs, there is definitely going to be spillover to the United States,” said Shannon Saccocia, chief investment officer at Boston Private.

The S&P 500 dropped more than 9 percent in December, its largest decline since the Great Depression. For the year, the index slid more than 6 percent, its biggest drop since the 2008 financial crisis.

Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan ended down 16 percent for the year, while the STOXX 600 was more than 13 percent lower. MSCI’s gauge of stocks around the globe .MIWD00000PUS fell 11.1 percent in 2018.

A further blow to the Chinese economy could spur a quicker resolution to the U.S.-China trade dispute and thus boost global equities, Saccocia said. Survey data on Monday showed Chinese manufacturing activity contracting for the first time in two years even as the service sector improved.

On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 265.06 points, or 1.15 percent, to 23,327.46, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 21.11 points, or 0.85 percent, to 2,506.85 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 50.76 points, or 0.77 percent, to 6,635.28.

MSCI’s emerging markets index .MSCIEF rose 0.32 percent, while the MSCI world stock index .MIWD00000PUS gained 0.66 percent.

(GRAPHIC: Global markets in 2018- tmsnrt.rs/2AmRgNB)

NO MORE HIKES

Yields on U.S. Treasuries fell on Monday, keeping with the trend over the past two months as investors moved to lower-risk investments.

Benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR last rose 15/32 in price to yield 2.686 percent, compared with 2.738 percent late on Friday.

The fall in Treasury yields reflects expectations of a slowdown, if not a pause altogether, in the Federal Reserve’s progression of interest-rate hikes.

The precipitous drop in yields has undermined the U.S. dollar in recent weeks. The dollar index .DXY, which measures the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, was down 0.3 percent and on track to end December with a loss. It is, however, still set for its highest yearly percentage gain since 2015.

On Monday, the dollar fell to a six-month low against the yen JPY=.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 28, 2018. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

The euro EUR= was up 0.2 percent to $1.1459, on track to end the year down nearly 5 percent against the dollar.

Oil posted its first year of losses since 2015, with Brent crude futures LCOc1 down 19.5 percent and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures CLc1 down 24.8 percent.

On Monday, Brent crude settled 59 cents higher, or 1.11 percent, at $53.80 a barrel. U.S. crude settled up 8 cents, or 0.18 percent, at $45.41 a barrel.

Reporting by April Joyner; Additional reporting by Stephen Culp, Saqib Iqbal Ahmed, Stephanie Kelly and Kate Duguid in New York, Collin Eaton in Houston and Marc Jones in London; Editing by Dan Grebler and Alistair Bell

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GLOBAL MARKETS-Trade optimism lifts stocks, but 2018 ends in red

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Equities around the world rose on Monday as possible progress in resolving the trade dispute between the United States and China engendered some investor optimism in what has been a punishing end of year for markets.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 28, 2018. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

The U.S. benchmark S&P 500 stock index advanced in light trading volume after U.S. President Donald Trump said he held a “very good call” with China’s President Xi Jinping on Saturday to discuss trade and said “big progress” was being made.

Chinese state media were more reserved, saying Xi hoped the negotiating teams could meet each other halfway and reach an agreement that was mutually beneficial.

The rise in U.S. equities mirrored that in Asian and European markets, which were also buoyed by trade optimism.

Despite Monday’s advance, equities ended the year largely in the red, victims of investor anxiety over trade tensions and slowing economic growth. Asian and European shares had been sluggish for much of the year, and in recent months, U.S. stocks followed suit.

“If the European economy continues to decelerate and the Chinese economy decelerates because of tariffs, there is definitely going to be spillover to the United States,” said Shannon Saccocia, chief investment officer at Boston Private.

The S&P 500 dropped more than 9 percent in December, its largest decline since the Great Depression. For the year, the index slid more than 6 percent, its biggest drop since the 2008 financial crisis.

Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan ended down 16 percent for the year, while the STOXX 600 was more than 13 percent lower. MSCI’s gauge of stocks around the globe .MIWD00000PUS fell 11.1 percent in 2018.

A further blow to the Chinese economy could spur a quicker resolution to the U.S.-China trade dispute and thus boost global equities, Saccocia said. Survey data on Monday showed Chinese manufacturing activity contracting for the first time in two years even as the service sector improved.

On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 265.06 points, or 1.15 percent, to 23,327.46, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 21.11 points, or 0.85 percent, to 2,506.85 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 50.76 points, or 0.77 percent, to 6,635.28.

MSCI’s emerging markets index .MSCIEF rose 0.32 percent, while the MSCI world stock index .MIWD00000PUS gained 0.66 percent.

(GRAPHIC: Global markets in 2018- tmsnrt.rs/2AmRgNB)

NO MORE HIKES

Yields on U.S. Treasuries fell on Monday, keeping with the trend over the past two months as investors moved to lower-risk investments.

Benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR last rose 15/32 in price to yield 2.686 percent, compared with 2.738 percent late on Friday.

The fall in Treasury yields reflects expectations of a slowdown, if not a pause altogether, in the Federal Reserve’s progression of interest-rate hikes.

The precipitous drop in yields has undermined the U.S. dollar in recent weeks. The dollar index .DXY, which measures the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, was down 0.3 percent and on track to end December with a loss. It is, however, still set for its highest yearly percentage gain since 2015.

On Monday, the dollar fell to a six-month low against the yen JPY=.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 28, 2018. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

The euro EUR= was up 0.2 percent to $1.1459, on track to end the year down nearly 5 percent against the dollar.

Oil posted its first year of losses since 2015, with Brent crude futures LCOc1 down 19.5 percent and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures CLc1 down 24.8 percent.

On Monday, Brent crude settled 59 cents higher, or 1.11 percent, at $53.80 a barrel. U.S. crude settled up 8 cents, or 0.18 percent, at $45.41 a barrel.

Reporting by April Joyner; Additional reporting by Stephen Culp, Saqib Iqbal Ahmed, Stephanie Kelly and Kate Duguid in New York, Collin Eaton in Houston and Marc Jones in London; Editing by Dan Grebler and Alistair Bell

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US STOCKS-Wall St rises, limps across the finish line of a turbulent year

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street advanced in low-volume trading on Monday as revelers gathered to ring in 2019, marking the end of the worst year for U.S. stocks since 2008, the height of the financial crisis.

Wall Street entered correction territory in late January and was challenged for much of 2018 by tariff jitters, rising interest rates, and fears of diminishing corporate profits.

“Investors got complacent,” said Thomas Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt Investments in Atlanta. “People were positioned for the lack of volatility, and when that changed because of trade concerns and interest rates, people started repositioning and that started the cascade.”

December was a particularly trying month for U.S. equities. The S&P 500 .SPX saw its worst December since the Great Depression and the Nasdaq .IXIC confirmed it was in a bear market, or 20 percent below its high. All three are down about 9 percent since the beginning of the month.

In the new year, investors hope for the removal of question marks that acted as significant headwinds in 2018, including U.S.-China trade negotiations, the path of U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate hikes, slowing corporate growth and economic fallout from the upcoming departure of Britain from the European Union, or Brexit, among other concerns.

As 2019 gets underway, “investors will be looking to corporate earnings, what happens with the trade negotiations and the body language of the Fed,” Martin added.

On Monday, renewed hopes for a resolution to the U.S.-China trade dispute provided a glimmer of optimism for investors.

U.S. President Donald Trump indicated on Twitter that progress had been made toward a potential settlement of trade tensions between the United States and China which have plagued stock markets for much of the year.

Trading volume was relatively light, owing to the holiday as the U.S. federal government shutdown entered its 10th day.

Healthcare .SPXHC and tariff-sensitive technology .SPLRCT stocks, led by Boeing Co (BA.N) and Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N), provided the biggest boost to the S&P 500 on Monday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 265.06 points, or 1.15 percent, to 23,327.46, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 21.11 points, or 0.85 percent, to 2,506.85 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 50.76 points, or 0.77 percent, to 6,635.28.

All 11 major sectors in the S&P 500 ended the session in positive territory. But for the year, only healthcare and utilities .SPLRCU ended 2018 higher.

Energy .SPNY, materials .SPLRCM, communication services .SPLRCL, industrials .SPLRCI and financials .SPSY were the biggest percentage losers of 2018, down between 14.7 percent and 20.5 percent from the beginning of the year.

The 20.5 percent drop of energy stocks in 2018 was largely attributable to crude prices LCOc1 plunging 38 percent since early October.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 28, 2018. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.42-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.81-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted no new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded eight new highs and 98 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 7.46 billion shares, compared with the 9.22 billion-share average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

Reporting by Stephen Culp; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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Bloody Christmas Season for India’s Persecuted Christians

Instead of Christmas being a season of joy and glad tidings, it became a time of horror and persecution for some of India’s Christians.

According to the Religious Liberty Commission (RLC) of the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI), there were at least 18 confirmed assaults against Christians in recent weeks.

“Both the frequency of the attacks and their intensity has increased in the past few years,” Rev. Vijayesh Lal, general secretary of the EFI and the national director of the RLC, told Morning Star News. 

One of the most severe attacks occurred during a Christmas gathering on Dec. 23 in Kowad village, Kolhapur District in Maharashtra state.

Seven worshippers were sent to the hospital after 20 Hindu extremists charged inside New Life Fellowship Church with makeshift weapons and began attacking people.

“They barged into the worship hall and began to throw big stones and empty beer bottles at the worshippers,” Milton Norenj, coordinator of the New Life Fellowship Jadhinglaj told Morning Star News.

Norenj said the men were screaming, “Jai Bhawani, Jai Shivaji,” a phrase that means victor to the Hindu goddess Bhawani and the Hindu King Shivaji.

Pastor Bhimsen Ganpati Chavan, 36, said there were about 40 Christians present when the attack took place. Many were left injured and required stitches or surgery to recover.

“I have been living here since the year 2000,” Pastor Chavan told Morning Star News. “We have faced some opposition before, but never an attack of this kind.”

He said the attack lasted five to seven minutes until the terrorists left.

Local media report that police arrested several people and filed charges against the attackers.

This attack is just one of many against Christians and confirmed fears that India is becoming increasingly dangerous for believers.

CBN News previously reported that attacks against Christians have been on the rise in southern India.

According to Alliance Defending Freedom, in the first nine months of the year the Indian southern states of Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala have reported at least 60 cases of attacks against Christians. In contrast, 36 attacks against Christians were seen in the first nine months of 2017.

Earlier this year, members of the US Congress sent a bipartisan letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to oppose the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities by members of his own party.

Modi is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) political party, which is notorious for promoting Hindu nationalism and working against those who spread any religion other than Hinduism in the country.

In July, one of India’s parliament members, Dinesh Kashyap, said a tribal people known as “Advasis” should be barred from government aid if they convert from Hinduism. Kashyap is a member of the BJP party.

Despite the growing persecution of Christians, Pastor Joseph D’Souza, who works tirelessly for human rights in India, told CBN News said God is still at work in India.

“Persecution has never stopped the growth of the church. In fact, when we are attacked, when we are persecuted, we become stronger,” he said. “They’re standing strong and they’re not recounting.”

Oil posts first year of losses since 2015

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Oil prices ended with full-year losses for the first time since 2015, after a desultory fourth quarter that saw buyers flee the market over growing worries about a supply glut and mixed signals related to renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran.

FILE PHOTO: A pump jack operates in the Permian Basin oil production area near Wink, Texas U.S. August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Nick Oxford/File Photo

For the year, U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI)futures slumped nearly 25 percent, while Brent tumbled more than 19.5 percent.

The market had been on track for solid gains for the year until October, when the United States granted larger-than-expected waivers to importers of Iran’s oil, and as demand in emerging economies started to sag.

That combination dragged down both benchmarks from four-year highs above $76 a barrel and $86 a barrel, respectively, and even a late-year decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies including Russia, known collectively as OPEC+, to ratchet down output was not enough to restore bullish sentiment.

“We’re flush with oil,” said Phillip Streible, senior market strategist at RJO Futures. “OPEC is out there cutting, but the market isn’t really pricing that in.”

Oil prices fell more than a third this quarter, the steepest quarterly decline since the fourth quarter of 2014.

For a graphic on oil prices in 2018, see: tmsnrt.rs/2GYkqYO.

Crude oil futures posted modest gains on Monday. Brent settled up 59 cents, or 1.1 percent, at $53.80 a barrel, while WTI settled 8 cents higher at $45.41 a barrel.

Analysts have turned bearish on 2019, according to a Reuters poll. A survey of 32 economists and analysts forecast an average Brent price of $69.13 next year, more than $5 below analyst projections a month ago, and compared with an average real price of $71.76 in 2018.

(GRAPHIC: Oil prices in 2018 – tmsnrt.rs/2AmreKo)

Brent, the global benchmark, rose by almost a third between January and October, to a high of $86.74. That was the highest level since late 2014, the start of a deep market slump amid bulging global oversupply.

Prices rose through most of the year, continuing 2017’s recovery after several years of weak pricing that sent oil-rich economies into tailspins and forced hundreds of U.S. energy companies into bankruptcy. Renewed U.S. sanctions against major producer Iran, as well as healthy economic conditions and concerns about crude supplies, had elevated prices until October.

However, when Washington gave unexpectedly generous sanction waivers to Iran’s biggest oil buyers, concerns about a global oversupply and sluggish economic growth clouded markets.

“OPEC and non-OPEC producers found themselves competing with additional supplies from the U.S. that overwhelmed the market,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston.

OPEC+ opened its taps in autumn as demand reduced global inventories, then reversed course as priced tumbled.

The producers’ group now plans to cut 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) beginning Jan. 1. It acted as fears a U.S.-China trade war, falling U.S. stock prices and rising U.S. shale output and interest rates would hurt global demand pushed crude lower.

A tweet by U.S. President Donald Trump claiming progress on a possible U.S.-China trade deal pushed crude prices up more than 2 percent in early trading on Monday. But oil lost ground as traders focused on data showing China’s economy slowed further in December, analysts said.

Chinese manufacturing activity declined in December for the first time in more than two years, according to a national purchasing managers’ survey.

The United States, which broke its 1970 peak of 10.04 million bpd in November 2017, surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia to became the world’s top producer in 2018, hitting an all-time high of more than 11.5 million bpd in October, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Monday.

U.S. drillers added about 138 oil rigs in 2018, the second year in a row of boosting the rig count. But North American producers will likely begin to reduce spending on drilling in 2019 as prices fall below break-even levels for new wells in the Permian Basin and the Eagle Ford shale field in Texas, analysts said.

“You could have a meaningful rally,” said John Saucer, vice president of research and analysis at Mobius Risk Group in Houston. “More companies are reducing capital expenditures, and production probably isn’t going to go as high as forecast.”

Still, prices could stagnate for weeks until OPEC’s cuts begin to affect global supplies in mid-January and early February.

Money managers trimmed bullish wagers on U.S. crude to the lowest level in more than two years in the week to Dec. 18, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said in its most recent report. New CFTC data will not be released until the partial shutdown of the federal government ends.

“The expectation was more money would be going into long positions as various fund managers thought they should have positions in oil,” said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service. “Yet we end the year with the lowest number in net length” since August 2016.

Reporting by Collin Eaton in Houston, Additional reporting by Stephanie Kelly in New York, Koustav Samanta and Henning Gloystein in Singapore and Julia Payne in London, Editing by Marguerita Choy and Adrian Croft

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CANADA STOCKS – TSX rises but posts 11 pct yearly loss

NEW YORK, Dec 31 (Reuters) – * The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX rose 100.86 points, or 0.71 percent, to 14,322.86. * For the year, the TSX fell 11.6 percent. * Leading the index on Monday were Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd, up 6.6 percent, Semafo Inc, up 6.5 percent, and Baytex Energy Corp, higher by 6.2 percent. * Lagging shares were Aphria Inc, down 7.9 percent, Aurora Cannabis Inc, down 4.8 percent, and MTY Food Group Inc, lower by 1.8 percent. * On the TSX 206 issues rose and 31 fell as a 6.6-to-1 ratio favored advancers. There were two new highs and two new lows, with total volume of 171.3 million shares. * The most heavily traded shares by volume were Barrick Gold Corp, Aphria Inc and Aurora Cannabis Inc . * The TSX’s energy group rose 1.40 points, or 1.03 percent, while the financials sector climbed 1.07 points, or 0.4 percent. * West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 1.13 percent, or $0.51, to $45.84 a barrel. Brent crude rose 1.77 percent, or $0.94, to $54.15. (Reporting by April Joyner)

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US STOCKS SNAPSHOT-Wall Street rises to cap off turbulent year

NEW YORK, Dec 31 (Reuters) – Wall Street advanced in relatively low-volume trading on Monday as revelers gathered to ring in 2019, marking the end of the worst year for U.S. stocks in a decade.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 265.67 points, or 1.15 percent, to 23,328.07, the S&P 500 gained 21.21 points, or 0.85 percent, to 2,506.95, and the Nasdaq Composite added 50.76 points, or 0.77 percent, to 6,635.28. (Reporting by Stephen Culp Editing by Leslie Adler)

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UPDATE 10-Oil posts first year of losses since 2015

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Oil prices ended with full-year losses for the first time since 2015, after a desultory fourth quarter that saw buyers flee the market over growing worries about a supply glut and mixed signals related to renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran.

FILE PHOTO: A pump jack operates in the Permian Basin oil production area near Wink, Texas U.S. August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Nick Oxford/File Photo

For the year, U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI)futures slumped nearly 25 percent, while Brent tumbled more than 19.5 percent.

The market had been on track for solid gains for the year until October, when the United States granted larger-than-expected waivers to importers of Iran’s oil, and as demand in emerging economies started to sag.

That combination dragged down both benchmarks from four-year highs above $76 a barrel and $86 a barrel, respectively, and even a late-year decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies including Russia, known collectively as OPEC+, to ratchet down output was not enough to restore bullish sentiment.

“We’re flush with oil,” said Phillip Streible, senior market strategist at RJO Futures. “OPEC is out there cutting, but the market isn’t really pricing that in.”

Oil prices fell more than a third this quarter, the steepest quarterly decline since the fourth quarter of 2014.

For a graphic on oil prices in 2018, see: tmsnrt.rs/2GYkqYO.

Crude oil futures posted modest gains on Monday. Brent settled up 59 cents, or 1.1 percent, at $53.80 a barrel, while WTI settled 8 cents higher at $45.41 a barrel.

Analysts have turned bearish on 2019, according to a Reuters poll. A survey of 32 economists and analysts forecast an average Brent price of $69.13 next year, more than $5 below analyst projections a month ago, and compared with an average real price of $71.76 in 2018.

(GRAPHIC: Oil prices in 2018 – tmsnrt.rs/2AmreKo)

Brent, the global benchmark, rose by almost a third between January and October, to a high of $86.74. That was the highest level since late 2014, the start of a deep market slump amid bulging global oversupply.

Prices rose through most of the year, continuing 2017’s recovery after several years of weak pricing that sent oil-rich economies into tailspins and forced hundreds of U.S. energy companies into bankruptcy. Renewed U.S. sanctions against major producer Iran, as well as healthy economic conditions and concerns about crude supplies, had elevated prices until October.

However, when Washington gave unexpectedly generous sanction waivers to Iran’s biggest oil buyers, concerns about a global oversupply and sluggish economic growth clouded markets.

“OPEC and non-OPEC producers found themselves competing with additional supplies from the U.S. that overwhelmed the market,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston.

OPEC+ opened its taps in autumn as demand reduced global inventories, then reversed course as priced tumbled.

The producers’ group now plans to cut 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) beginning Jan. 1. It acted as fears a U.S.-China trade war, falling U.S. stock prices and rising U.S. shale output and interest rates would hurt global demand pushed crude lower.

A tweet by U.S. President Donald Trump claiming progress on a possible U.S.-China trade deal pushed crude prices up more than 2 percent in early trading on Monday. But oil lost ground as traders focused on data showing China’s economy slowed further in December, analysts said.

Chinese manufacturing activity declined in December for the first time in more than two years, according to a national purchasing managers’ survey.

The United States, which broke its 1970 peak of 10.04 million bpd in November 2017, surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia to became the world’s top producer in 2018, hitting an all-time high of more than 11.5 million bpd in October, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Monday.

U.S. drillers added about 138 oil rigs in 2018, the second year in a row of boosting the rig count. But North American producers will likely begin to reduce spending on drilling in 2019 as prices fall below break-even levels for new wells in the Permian Basin and the Eagle Ford shale field in Texas, analysts said.

“You could have a meaningful rally,” said John Saucer, vice president of research and analysis at Mobius Risk Group in Houston. “More companies are reducing capital expenditures, and production probably isn’t going to go as high as forecast.”

Still, prices could stagnate for weeks until OPEC’s cuts begin to affect global supplies in mid-January and early February.

Money managers trimmed bullish wagers on U.S. crude to the lowest level in more than two years in the week to Dec. 18, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said in its most recent report. New CFTC data will not be released until the partial shutdown of the federal government ends.

“The expectation was more money would be going into long positions as various fund managers thought they should have positions in oil,” said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service. “Yet we end the year with the lowest number in net length” since August 2016.

Reporting by Collin Eaton in Houston, Additional reporting by Stephanie Kelly in New York, Koustav Samanta and Henning Gloystein in Singapore and Julia Payne in London, Editing by Marguerita Choy and Adrian Croft

JEFFREY LIPTON in BARBADOS – http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/companyNews/~3/362SybZyc2E/update-10-oil-posts-first-year-of-losses-since-2015-idUSL3N1Z00YL