A banner year for the US stock market

Strong year-end momentum is expected to lift the S&P 500 Index to biggest annual increase since 1997

THE broadest equity rally on record will pick up speed through the year end and lift the Standard & Poor's 500 Index to the biggest annual increase in 16 years, if history is any guide.

Shares have climbed in the final two months 82 per cent of the time since 1928 when the benchmark gauge advanced at least 10 per cent through October, data compiled by S&P and Bloomberg show. The mean November and December increase of 6 per cent would boost the index to 1,862.79, an all-time high that is about 20 per cent above the record 1,565.65 set in 2007.

Instead of selling shares to lock in profits during rallies, investors almost always add them in the final quarter, convinced that gains built up over the...

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