NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- No matter how this trading session swings, Wall Street can pop the champagne early with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite likely to close the year out with double-digit gains.
Barring any earth-shaking news, the S&P 500 will likely end the year 13% higher, the Nasdaq Composite with gains of 14%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average having added 9%.
"The economy entering the New Year is in better shape than previously thought and is likely to escape a serious downturn in 2015," Peter Cardillo, chief economist at Rockwell Capital, wrote in a research note. "We reiterate our positive outlook for stocks in 2015, as expanding U.S. growth remains favorable for growing corporate earnings."
The late-year rally that pushed markets to new records had a little more gas in the final trading session of the year. The S&P 500 was 0.22% higher, the Dow added 0.23% and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.58%.
Markets were shaking off disappointing weekly jobless claims data, which climbed 17,000 to 298,000 for the week ended Dec. 27. Economists had expected 290,000 new filings for unemployment benefits for the week.
However, on a trend basis, initial claims have improved over the past two weeks, according to RBC Economics economist Josh Nye.
"The current four-week moving average is once again below levels that prevailed throughout the third quarter, thereby providing further evidence of a healthy labor market heading into 2015," he wrote in a report.