As 2017 Winds Down, Can the Stock Market Count on a Santa Claus Rally?

December may bring the first day of winter, but the hot streak in the U.S. stock market is showing no signs of cooling.As of Nov. 30, the Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 18 percent, putting it on track for the third-best year of returns since the financial crisis. So much for the naysayers who have called for a stock market crash this year that's never materialized.With 16 trading days left in 2017, nothing on the horizon seems to put the market's rally in peril. Rather, December historically is one of the best months for stocks, with the S&P 500 delivering average monthly returns of 1.4 percent, according to data compiled by Yardeni Research.And stocks could get a further boost from Congress, the Federal Reserve and Santa Claus. Here's what to watch in the month ahead — and beyond.  Continue reading...

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