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US stocks end mixed as tech pullback prevents S&P 500 from logging fresh closing high

Brendan McDermid/Reuters

  • The S&P 500 pulled back from another record-closing high in the final minutes of Tuesday’s session. 
  • A retreat in tech stocks also weighed on the Nasdaq Composite. 
  • Apple is in focus as 2021 winds down, with its stock sitting not far from a $3 trillion market capitalization.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

US stocks ended mixed Tuesday as the S&P 500 narrowly pulled back from another record closing high in the final minutes of trade. 

The benchmark notched a 69th record high for the year on Monday but just missed out on a 70th as tech stocks fell.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was able to log a fifth straight win, aided by advances in consumer services companies Disney and Walmart.  The tech-concentrated Nasdaq Composite ended in the red. Decliners included Apple after the iPhone maker closed all of its New York City stores because of mounting coronavirus infections. Apple is in focus as 2021 winds down, with its stock sitting not far from a $3 trillion market capitalization.

Here’s where US indexes stood at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday:   

  • S&P 500: 4,786.36, down 0.10%
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: 36,398.21, up 0.26% (95.83 points)
  • Nasdaq Composite: 15,781.72, down 0.56%

The S&P 500 started strong Tuesday and looked to continue a Santa Claus rally, which typically runs during the last five sessions of the year to the first two sessions of the new year. But by midday, the index lost momentum, then bobbed up and down just ahead of the close.

Stocks had gained recently as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus appears to be producing milder symptoms in patients than the previous iterations of coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday said Omicron accounts for 59% of US cases, lower than its previous estimate of 73%. But Omicron cases are up 23% from last week.

“While early analysis suggests Omicron’s symptoms may be less severe than Delta’s and the CDC has recommended a shorter isolation time, COVID’s persistence through Delta and Omicron and potential future variants continue to delay the full transition from reopening activity, navigating consumers’ mobility and activities and businesses’ supply-chain fluidity, to a future steady state of sustainable growth post-pandemic,” said Tom Hainlin, national investment strategist at US Bank Wealth Management, in a note to Insider on Tuesday.

“We still see a strong economy and positive corporate profit growth heading into 2022 — typically defensive sector performance lags behind during those periods,” he said.

Around the markets, Wedbush said Tesla stock should jump 28% in 2022 as China remains a growth “linchpin” and production capacity doubles on the opening of new Gigafactories.

Cathie Wood’s prediction for a 20% gain in 2021 has soured as Ark’s flagship fund sees its worst return since its inception. 

Rock legend Ozzy Osbourne is getting into the NFT market with his collection of “Cryptobatz”. 

Oil prices rose. West Texas Intermediate crude added on 0.9%, at $76.23 per barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, gained 0.8% to trade at $78.85.

Gold turned lower, slipping 0.1% to $1,807.80 per ounce. The 10-year yield rose less than 1 basis point to 1.483%. 

Bitcoin slumped 6.8% to $47,553.50. 

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