The Columbus Dispatch

Stocks end higher; S&P 500 notches another record

- Alex Veiga

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%.

The major indexes posted weekly gains last week as fears ebbed about the potential impact of the COVID-19 omicron variant. However, much is still uncertain about omicron, which is spreading extremely 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 alltime 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 the omicron coronaviru­s variant continues to spread quickly throughout the U.S. and overseas. However most big investors have closed out their positions for 2021, and are like 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 rose 4.9%.

Health care and financial stocks also helped lift the market. Abbott Laboratori­es rose 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.

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 efforts 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.

Gold for February delivery fell $2.90 to $1,808.80 an ounce. Silver for March delivery rose 5 cents to $22.99 an ounce, and March copper rose 8 cents to $4.47 a pound.

The dollar rose to 114.92 Japanese yen from 114.36 yen. The euro rose to $1.1326.

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