Stocks Extend Last Week’s Rally with Another S&P 500 Record…

U.S. equities extended the rally to start the last week of 2021, with the S&P 500 delivering a close at a fresh record high. Concerns surrounding omicron are cooling but still in focus, as the rapid spread of the variant has forced the airline industry to cancel flights due to staffing shortages caused by the CDC’s recommended 10-day isolation period. In light equity news, Moderna is facing some scrutiny from its shareholders who are calling on the drug maker to open its vaccine technology to poorer countries, Apple is also under fire after the top Dutch competition regulator said its app store is in violation of the country’s competition laws, while shares of GoDaddy rallied on the news that an investment adviser has taken stake in the company. Economic news was in short supply, with the lone report showing manufacturing activity in the Dallas region surprisingly declined. Treasuries were mixed and the U.S. dollar ticked to the upside, while crude oil prices were higher, and gold was up in choppy trading. Europe finished broadly higher in lighter volume, and Asia was mixed amid ongoing concerns regarding the spread of omicron. The markets in the U.K., Hong Kong, and Australia remained closed for the holiday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 352 points (1.0%) to 36,303, the S&P 500 Index rose 65 points (1.4%) to 4,791, and the Nasdaq Composite gained 218 points (1.4%) to 15,871. In lighter volume, 2.7 billion shares of NYSE-listed stocks were traded, and 3.7 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq. WTI crude oil moved $1.78 higher to $75.57 per barrel. Elsewhere, the gold spot price gained $1.40 to $1,813.10 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—was 0.1% higher at 96.08.

The Dallas Fed Manufacturing Index surprisingly declined but remained in expansion territory (a reading above zero) for December. The index fell to 8.1 from 11.8 in November and compared to forecasts calling for a rise to 13.5.

Treasuries were mixed, as the yield on the 2-year note was up 1 basis points (bps) at 0.70%, the yield on the 10-year note decreased 1 bp to 1.48%, and the 30-year bond rate was 2 bps lower at 1.88%.

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