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Wall Street ends higher, marking another record for S&P 500

Wall Street subway station in New York
The S&P 500 is on pace to close out the year with a 27.6% gain.
(Associated Press)

Technology companies led U.S. stocks broadly higher Monday, extending the market’s recent rally and nudging the S&P 500 to another all-time high.

Wall Street kicked off the final week in a banner year for the stock market with mostly muted trading as investors returned from the Christmas holiday and several overseas markets remained closed.

The S&P 500 rose 1.4%, its fourth straight gain. The benchmark index, which capped a holiday-shortened week Thursday with a record high, is on pace to close out the year with a 27.6% gain. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 1%, and the technology-heavy Nasdaq rose 1.4%.

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The major indexes posted weekly gains last week as fears ebbed about the potential effects of the COVID-19 Omicron variant. However, much is still uncertain about Omicron, which is spreading quickly and leading to a return to pandemic restrictions in some places.

The S&P 500 rose 65.40 points to 4,791.19. The index has notched 69 all-time highs so far this year. The Dow gained 351.82 points to 36,302.38, and the Nasdaq rose 217.89 points to 15,871.26.

Small company stocks also rose. The Russell 2000 index gained 19.88 points, or 0.9%, to 2,261.46.

Trading is expected to be quiet, but potentially volatile, this week as Omicron continues to spread quickly throughout the U.S. and overseas. However, most big investors have closed out their positions for 2021, and are likely to hold their ground until next week.

Technology companies led the gains Monday. Nvidia climbed 4.4%, while Apple and Microsoft each rose 2.3%.

The price of U.S. crude oil rose 2.4%, continuing its climb higher this month. That helped boost energy stocks. Devon Energy rose 6.1% and Diamondback Energy climbed 4.9%.

Healthcare and financial stocks also helped lift the market. Abbott Laboratories jumped 1.7% and Morgan Stanley rose 1.1%.

Hundreds of flights were canceled in the U.S. over the holiday weekend, with airlines reporting COVID-related staffing problems.

France reported more than 100,000 new cases in a daily record.

Airline stocks closed lower on the news. Delta Air Lines fell 0.8% and United Airlines slipped 0.6%.

Shares in cruise line operators also fell. Norwegian Cruise Line slid 2.6% for one of the biggest declines in the S&P 500. Carnival dropped 1.2% and Royal Caribbean fell 1.3%.

Authorities in many countries have doubled down on vaccination efforts as Omicron outbreaks complicate attempts to stave off fresh lockdowns while hospitals are still under strain from Delta variant infections.

Bond yields were mixed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 1.48% from 1.49% on Thursday.

Asian and European markets were either closed or mostly higher on Monday. London and Hong Kong were closed, while Japan’s stock market closed slightly higher.

In other international developments, the Turkish lira fell another 5% against the dollar. The currency has tumbled sharply this year as the Turkish government has tried to invigorate its economy despite chronically high inflation. The government announced a plan last week that would encourage Turks to put their money back into lira bank accounts to prop up the currency.


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