Global stock markets closed out their worst year since the financial crisis, leaving investors bruised and braced for further volatility in the coming months. The equity market retreat of the past year has been stoked by concerns of a slowing global economy and tightening monetary policy. Mounting geopolitical tensions, from the escalating trade war between the US and China to Brexit, have also rattled investors and weighed heavily on equities. “The mood for the end of year . . . is one of uncertainty,” said Tom Digenan, head US intrinsic value equities at UBS Asset Management. “I do not think the mood changes until we get some good news, such as a signal that the Fed is going to maintain an accommodative policy or we get some positive news on the trade front.” Sleepy trading conditions on the last day of the year on Monday delivered a small lift to some markets, with Wall Street making gains. The S&P 500 rose 0.9 per cent to 2,506.85, after dipping into the red earlier in the sessi...

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