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As investors’ tolerance for risk continued to grow, stocks remained strong in December. Rebounding from severe losses in 2008, U.S. stocks in 2009 had their best year since 2003. Large-cap stocks eked out a small gain in December with the S&P 500 up 1.93%. For calendar year 2009, the S&P 500 gained 26.5%, the 11th best result in the last 50 years for the index.
Mid-cap stocks outperformed large-cap stocks and slightly underperformed small-cap stocks as the S&P 400 finished December up 6.28%. Many formerly large-cap companies moved into mid-cap territory during the 2008 bear market and rose in 2009 on investors’ expectation of a strengthening economy and rising profit growth.
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