Wall Street hovers around breakeven for final 2021 session

A seller of replicas of the famous Wall Street bull (GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP / SPENCER PLATT)

The New York Stock Exchange hovered undecided around equilibrium on Friday for the last session of an excellent year for Wall Street.

At 8:15 p.m. GMT, the indices, positive a few minutes earlier, retracted slightly: the Dow Jones dropped 0.05% and the S&P 500 0.07% just like the Nasdaq.

The day before in a weak market, Wall Street had retreated at the last minute after records.

The Dow Jones index had dropped 0.25% to 36,398.08 points. The S&P 500 had given up 0.30% to 4,778.73 points and the Nasdaq, with strong technological coloring, was down 0.16% to 15,741.56 points.

According to the stock market tradition of the “Santa Claus Rally”, the markets have shown an increase 80% of the time for 80 years in the last week of the year.

Wall Street was well on the way to upholding this adage. On the opening week, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones were up 1.2%, the Nasdaq by half a percentage point.

“The market is about to conclude a great 2021 stock market vintage, even if it is not quite complete and if we do not know how the session will evolve,” said Patrick O’Hare of Briefing.

Supported in 2021 by progress in the fight against the pandemic and by generous monetary policies, the indices will end the year sharply.

At this time of year, the Dow Jones climbed 18.9% in 2021 against 7.2% in 2020.

The Nasdaq, which swelled 43% last year as a number of tech companies took advantage of pandemic conditions, is ahead 22.1%.

The S&P 500, which posted 70 records this year, rose 27.2% after + 16% in 2020.

The big names in tech alone, like Microsoft, Alphabet, Apple, have added more than 2.5 trillion in valuation to the market, according to Bloomberg calculations.

“For this last day of trading, the news is calm on equities as on the economy,” noted Schwab analysts. Apart from the markets that remained open, Friday was a public holiday in the United States to observe New Year’s Day which falls on a Saturday.

“Investors, however, remain focused on the omicron variant, the outlook for growth and results, inflationary pressures and the start of tightening monetary policy,” Schwab added.

Yields on Treasury bills were stable at 1.51% against 1.50% the previous day for 10-year bonds.

The eleven sectors of the S&P were divided. Five were in the green with health in the lead (+ 0.24%) and real estate (+ 0.13%) while six were moderately in the red starting with communications (-0.28% ) in a weak market which amplified movements.

The semiconductor manufacturer AMD resisted (+ 0.37% to 145 dollars) although it announced that it was delaying the conclusion of its takeover of the Chinese group Xilinx pending the green light from the Beijing authorities.

Peloton, the maker of smart apartment bikes, was down 1.16% to $ 36.76 after an unfavorable rating from analysts.

Vaccine maker Pfizer climbed 1.19% to $ 59.09 after the endorsement of a British regulatory agency granted to its anti-Covid pill, Paxlovid.

© 2021 AFP

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