Stocks meander higher, setting another record for the S&P 500
Wall Street ended another wobbly day mostly up, enough for the S&P 500 to hit a new high. The benchmark index edged up 0.1%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2%, and the Nasdaq slipped 0.1%. Retailers and businesses reliant on consumer spending were among the top performers coming out of the Christmas shopping season. With two trading days remaining in the year, the S&P 500 is heading for a gain of over 27% for 2021, almost as large as its gain in 2019. The yield on the 10-year Treasury bill has fallen to 1, 55%.
THIS IS A CURRENT UPDATE. AP’s previous story follows below.
Stocks mostly rose on Wall Street on Wednesday afternoon, putting the S&P 500 within striking distance of another all-time high.
The benchmark is on track to close above 27% for 2021. That would be its best performance since 2019, another record year for the market.
The S&P 500 was up 0.1% at 2:17 p.m. EST. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3% and the Nasdaq slipped 0.1%. All three indices started the day slightly in the green.
Retailers and businesses reliant on consumer spending were among the top performers coming out of the Christmas shopping season. Target, Nike, Kroger, Under Armor and AutoZone all rose 1.3% or more.
Health care stocks also rose. Biogen jumped 7.6%.
The values of communication, technology and energy have made it possible to contain market gains. Facebook’s parent company Meta Platforms fell 0.9%, chipmaker Nvidia fell 1.3%, and Exxon Mobil fell 0.8%.
Investors have become more comfortable with the omicron variant of the coronavirus over the past two weeks. The rapidly spreading virus appears to be less severe and cause fewer deaths and hospitalizations than other versions of the virus.
Much is still unclear about omicron, which is spreading extremely quickly and leading to a return to pandemic restrictions in some locations. The variant is quickly becoming the dominant variety in the world.
While virus-related lockdowns and travel restrictions remain a big concern, most major investors have closed their positions for 2021 and are expected to hold on until next week. Trading this week has been slow, with less than 3 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange in the past two days, compared to 4.5 billion shares typically bought and sold on an average day.
Bond yields rose in the last days of 2021. The yield on the 10-year Treasury bill was 1.54% versus 1.48% the previous day.
Energy futures mostly increased. The price of US crude oil rose 0.6%.