US stocks fall in last day of 2014 trade

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 17.823.32, down 159.75 points (0.89 per cent). -- PHOTO: AFP
At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 17.823.32, down 159.75 points (0.89 per cent). -- PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - US stocks Wednesday fell in the final day of 2014, cutting into the year's gains as the Dow rose for the sixth year in a row.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 17.823.32, down 159.75 points (0.89 per cent).

The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 21.46 (1.03 per cent) to 2,058.89, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost 41.39 (0.87 per cent) at 4,736.05.

Analysts said the trading session was prone to big swings because of light volume ahead of Thursday's New Year's holiday.

The S&P 500 accumulated more than half its losses for the session in the last 25 minutes of trade.

"It's just last-minute selling, year-end selling," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital.

"Because of the light volume, what's happening is just a technical decline and no change in fundamentals."