On Monday, the S&P 500 set a new record.
The index surpassed its previous high for the second trading day in a row, as markets surged ahead of the last week of the year. All three main US indices rose, signaling equity market bulls that the Santa Claus Rally continues.
During the closing bell, the S&P 500 rose 1.38% at 4,791.19, while the Dow was up 350 points to 36,302.38. The Nasdaq Composite rose 1.39% to close at 15,871.26.
Despite a surge in coronavirus instances, the S&P 500 reached an intraday high in early trade, marking its 69th record close of the year.
The year-ending Santa Claus Rally is gaining traction, with equities rising in the last five trading days of 2021, as well as the first two trading sessions of 2022. For unknown reasons, the S&P 500 has risen 77% of the time during the year-ending rally phase for the last 92 years, as Sundial Capital Research statistics show. During these seven days of trading, the typical increase was 2.66%.
Markets will enter 2022 with many significant issues to contemplate, the most important of which will be the spreading of the virus and growing inflation, as well as the Fed's actions in reaction.
"Inflation and the Omicron variant are the two biggest drivers for the financial markets currently," said Francis Oh, APAC CEO of Qraft Technologies. "I believe such triggers are already factored into market volatility... Yet, I believe the market will pull back."
Merck (MRK) obtained approval from the US Food and Drug Administration the previous week for its coronavirus medicine, just a day after Pfizer (PFE) was also licensed for the usage of its medication.
As recent studies showed, molnupiravir, a pill made by Merck in partnership with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, cut hospitalizations and death levels by roughly 30%. At the same time, Pfizer's drug showed 90% efficacy in decreasing possible death incomes in high-risk patients.
"One of the ways pandemics terminate is when the virus undergoes multiple mutations. It seems that Omicron may be our savior in that aspect, with major mutations that are distinct enough from the parent to prevent individuals from becoming ill as much," True Health Initiative President Dr. David Katz commented.
Shareholders sorted through economic reports before the holiday break.
The Labor Department stated that initial unemployment numbers reached 205,000, following a declining trajectory from their pandemic records and signaling job market tightening as the new year approaches. The most recent statistic pushes the four-week moving average for new claims to its lowest point in 52 years, increasing by 2,750 over a week to 206,250.
Meanwhile, retail prices in the US increased at the steepest pace in almost four decades, as consumers confronted increasing inflation before Christmas.
"Workers have significant bargaining leverage, which is expected to result in continuing pay growth," Girard Chief Investment Officer Timothy Chubb said. "What concerns us from an inflation perspective is the moment at which some of those inflation threats pass the torch to the employment market."
In other news, November's property sales in the US rose by 12.4% to a seven-month peak of 744,000, bolstered by low mortgage rates and surged demand in the property market.
US durable commodities sales increased by 2.5% in the previous month, buoyed by a substantial increase in plane purchases.
"We've been stating that this is absolutely a buy the dip market, as we forecast further income increases," Anik Sen, global head of equities at PineBridge Investments, pointed out. "We feel that the true discussion should be on the duration and severity of the next economic cycle."
He also mentioned the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) debates over the Fed's balance sheet, which he said demonstrated a "greater sense of urgency than it was predicted."Stocks
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