KEEP THE DREAM ALIVE: Stocks shot higher on Monday, the last day of the year, after five days of losses. Investors were betting that politicians in Washington would work out a compromise on the "fiscal cliff," though trading closed with no deal in hand.
THE END OF THE YEAR AS WE KNOW IT: Stocks had a strong year, despite anemic growth in the U.S. and a debt crisis in Europe. The Standard & Poor's 500 index finished more than 13 percent higher, after being flat in 2011.
STOCKS TO NOTE: Homebuilder PulteGroup, appliance maker Whirlpool and Bank of America were some of the best performers on the stock market this year. They were partly making up for losses last year.
Obligatory Video: Obama and Raúl Castro Shake Hands at Memorial Service For Nelson Mandela | Daniel Doherty