NEW YORK — It’s the best start for stocks in 15 years.
The Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 each finished with their biggest January gains since 1997. Stocks jumped on the first trading day of the year and made a slow climb from there.
There was a dip at the end, though. The Dow fell 21 points on Tuesday to close at 12,632. Traders were discouraged by unexpectedly weak consumer confidence figures. The S&P closed down a fraction of a point, and the Nasdaq gained two.
Advancers and decliners were about even on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was a little higher than average lately at 4.1 billion shares.
The S&P ended the month up 4.4 percent.