Stock markets mostly retreated today in shortened end-of-year sessions, but rose sharply overall in 2019 thanks to late surges on receding recession fears and easing China-US trade war tensions.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index fell 0.6% at today's close but jumped 12.1% in 2019 - its best performance in three years - and bouncing back from a 12.5% slump a year earlier. 

The Paris CAC 40 index also ended marginally lower today but soared by more than a quarter over the year - its biggest annual gain in 20 years.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 finished its year yesterday with an annual gain of 25.5% also following a sharp loss in 2018.  

Dublin's ISEQ index was flat after its half day of trade today, but is ending the year over 30% higher. 

Earlier in Asian trade, the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong fell 0.46% as traders followed a weak lead from Wall Street and took year-end profits, although the bourse has rallied more than 7% in December alone.

Markets in Tokyo are closed for the New Year holiday today, but they finished 2019 more than 18% higher over the year, boosted recently by hopes for progress between the US and China over trade talks.

Analysts have attributed the latest run of records to upbeat investor sentiment based on a lower risk of recession in the immediate future, a mellowing of US-China trade tensions and accommodative monetary policy.

Wall Street's major indexes edged higher tonight as a rally fueled by trade optimism recommenced, capping off a decade of handsome returns in which the benchmark S&P 500 rose nearly 190%.

For the day, the Dow Jones rose 76 points (0.27%) to end at 28,538, while the S&P 500 gained nine points(0.29%) to finish at 3,231 and the Nasdaq Composite added 26 points (0.3%) to close at 8,972