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Wall Street's upward trend expected to continue in 2014

As Wall Street's best year in more than 15 draws to a close, few are expecting a repeat performance in 2014, though traders have plenty of reasons to feel optimistic.

While the market will likely enter January quietly, with many traders still out for the holidays and few major catalysts, the upward trend is seen continuing next week, especially in some of 2013's highflying names.

Economic growth is expected to accelerate next year, boosting employment and consumer purchasing power. But with markets repeatedly notching all-time highs, that growth may not translate to market gains as dramatically as in 2013.

"There's a pervasive feeling that the economy is getting better, and the Fed is still on the market's side after saying it would keep rates low," said Donald Selkin, chief market strategist at National Securities in Manhattan.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index has risen 29 percent so far in 2013, its best annual performance since 1997. Subscription video company Netflix Inc. was the S&P's strongest performer in 2013, with a jump of almost 300 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average is up 26 percent, while the Nasdaq is up nearly 38 percent.

The latest Reuters poll showed analysts expect the S&P 500 to rise to 1,925 points by the end of 2014, which represents a rise of 4.5 percent from current levels.-- Reuters

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