Investment Commentary – December 28, 2021

Year to Date Market Indices as of December 28, 2021
• Dow 36,355 (18.61%)
• S&P 4,795 (27.56%)
• NASDAQ 15,873 (23.14%)
• Barclay Bond Aggregate (-3.33%)
• Fed Funds Rate 0-0.25 (0-0.25)
• Annual Inflation Rate 6.8% (As of 11/21/21)


S&P 500 ekes out a new record high as traders weigh omicron threat

The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average rose Tuesday as the major stock indexes looked to build on record highs in the final week of the year.

The Dow added about 115 points, or 0.3%. The S&P 500 gained 0.1% and eked out a new intraday high. The Nasdaq Composite bucked the trend and ticked down 0.2%.

The move in futures comes after stocks rallied in Monday’s regular session, with the S&P 500 closing at its 69th record high of the year.

Markets continued to look to pandemic news for direction.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Monday that it was shortening its isolation recommendation for people who test positive to five days from 10, if those people do not have symptoms.

Research out of South Africa also indicated that omicron infections can help boost immunity to the earlier delta strain of Covid.

Stocks dipped in late November, in part because of the rise of the omicron variant of Covid-19, but have since rebounded as governments have largely shied away from reinstating lockdowns and strict social distancing measures.

Stocks tend to rise in light trading during the final days of the year, often called the “Santa Claus rally.” However, many Wall Street pros predict relatively small gains for stocks in 2022 after two strong years.

“If you look around Wall Street, you see very tame expectations, and it’s probably a reflection that we’re probably pretty late in the cycle,” Jim Lacamp, senior vice president at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, said on “Closing Bell.”

For the year, the S&P 500 is up more than 27% and the Nasdaq is up about 23%. The Dow is the relative laggard, up more than 18%.

News Around The web:

On the rebound
U.S. stock indexes climbed in a holiday-shortened week, making up the ground they lost the previous week, and the market continued on the uneven path it’s taken since the Omicron variant’s emergence in late November. The NASDAQ outperformed the S&P 500 and the Dow by wide margins in a reversal of the previous week’s outcome.

Omicron watch
It was another week of mixed news on the pandemic and its impact on the U.S. economy and financial markets. Cases of the Omicron variant spread rapidly in some areas of the country as the government announced an initiative to distribute COVID-19 tests to the public. In addition, regulators approved two new pills that will be available by prescription for those who are sick with COVID-19.

Build Back Later?
Democratic leaders’ hopes of securing Senate approval of President Biden’s Build Back Better proposal before year’s end were dashed, as a key Democratic senator’s objection derailed plans for a vote in the closely divided Senate. Party leaders continued to discuss possible routes to revising the legislation and bringing it back for a vote in January.

Growth adjustment
The U.S. government says economic growth last quarter was slightly stronger than it had estimated previously. In its final estimate released Wednesday, GDP growth in the third quarter was 2.3%, up from a previous estimate of 2.1%. By comparison, GDP accelerated at annual rates of 6.4% and 6.7% in the first and second quarters, respectively. (indices)