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US Stocks Make Gains in 2014, Oil Plunges

A trader wears glasses in the shape of 2015 while working on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Dec. 31, 2014.

U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday but closed the year out on a high note as crude oil prices continued their downward trend.

On the last day of trading in 2014, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 160 points to 17,823.07, the S&P lost 21.45 points, closing at 2,058.9, and the Nasdaq dropped 41.39 points to 4,736.05.

But for the year, the Dow was up about 7.5 percent, the S&P advanced more than 11 percent, with the Nasdaq climbing 13.4 percent.

It was the sixth straight year of annual gains for U.S. stock indexes, and the third straight year of double-digit gains for the S&P. Analysts say the upward trend was helped by continued low interest rates, recovery in the job market, and faster economic growth.

In contrast, oil prices posted their worst year since 2008, falling a record 45 percent in 2014, hurt by sagging demand in some major global economies and a production surge in the United States.

As supply outpaced demand, the price for U.S. crude oil fell 85 cents Wednesday to $53.27 a barrel, its lowest since May 2009. Brent dropped 57 cents to $57.33.

Some material from this report came from Reuters.