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S&P 500, Dow notch new closing records in thin trading as strong finish to 2021 continues

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

  • S&P 500 and Dow notched new closing records in thin trading ahead of the new year.
  • The 10-year Treasury note yield rose to 1.55% from Tuesday’s 1.480% rate.
  • Bitcoin tumbled for the third straight session and is heading toward its worst monthly performance in seven months.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

US stocks closed Wednesday higher with the benchmark index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average notching new records on thin trading ahead of the new year.

The S&P 500 edged higher to clinch its 70th record close for 2021 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average also edged up to mark its sixth consecutive win. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite was dragged lower by tech stocks. 

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4:00 p.m. ET close on Wednesday:

  • S&P 500: 4,793.08, up 0.14%
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: 36,488.57, up 0.25% (90.36 points)
  • Nasdaq Composite: 15,766.22, down 0.10%

US equities were generally trending higher amid the so-called Santa Claus rally, which typically runs from the last five trading days of the year to the first two sessions of the next.

Wall Street’s optimistic outlook for corporate profit growth next year, paired with signs that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus appears to be producing milder symptoms, helped buoy sentiment.

“Despite global surges in COVID cases, the markets are reflecting the new reality that COVID is here to stay albeit more on our terms than its,” Kevin Philip, managing director at Bel Air Investment Advisors, a wealth management firm, said in a Wednesday note. “I believe we are in a sustained growth economy and the stock markets will deliver positive returns accordingly.” 

Thus far, the S&P 500 is up almost 30% year-to-date and is on track to top the 4,800 base case of Fundstrat, said Tom Lee, the investment firm’s head of research. 

“The rise in equities, in our view, has been justified by the substantial economic resilience coupled with tremendous operating leverage of businesses,” Lee said in a Wednesday note. 

Still, Lee said he is expecting significant turbulence in 2022, especially in the first half of the year due to the continued rise in COVID cases, persistent supply-chain glitches, and uncertainty regarding mid-term elections. All these come on top of the Federal Reserve on the verge of raising interest rates, he added.

The 10-year Treasury note yield rose to 1.55% from Tuesday’s 1.480% rate. Bond yields move inversely to prices.

Given the expected modest rise in interest rates in 2022, Lawrence Gillum, fixed income strategist at LPL Financial, said he is seeing a year-end 2022 forecast for the 10-year Treasury yield to be between 1.75% to 2.00%

“An aging global demographic that needs income, higher global debt levels, and an ongoing bull market in equities may keep interest rates from going much higher,” Gillum said in a recent note.

Ahead of the new year, Insider rounded up the 10 biggest winners and losers of the S&P 500 for 2021 after a wild year for US stocks.

In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin tumbled for the third straight session and is heading toward its worst monthly performance in seven months, as investors wrap up trading for 2021. 

Oil prices rose. West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 0.62% to $76.45 per barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, slightly gained 0.32% to trade at $79.19.

Gold turned lower, slipping 0.08% to $1,804.96 per ounce after hitting its highest in a month in the previous session.

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