This Nov. 23, 2020 file photo shows the New York Stock Exchange in New York. Stocks are edging higher on Wall Street in early trading Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021, sending the S&P 500 slightly above the record closing high it set on Monday. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
Stocks edged mostly higher on Wall Street in afternoon trading Wednesday, putting the S&P 500 within striking distance of another all-time high.
The benchmark index is on pace to close up more than 27% for 2021. That would be its best performance since 2019, another banner year for the market.
The S&P 500 was up 0.1% as of 2:17 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.3% and the Nasdaq slipped 0.1%. All three indexes started the day slightly in the green.
Retailers and companies reliant on consumer spending were among the better performers coming off the Christmas holiday shopping season. Target, Nike, Kroger, Under Armour and AutoZone were all up 1.3% or more.
Health care stocks also rose. Biogen jumped 7.6%.
Communication, technology and energy stocks kept the market's gains in check. Facebook parent Meta Platforms slipped 0.9%, chipmaker Nvidia fell 1.3% and Exxon Mobil dropped 0.8%.
Investors have become more comfortable with the omicron variant of the coronavirus in the last couple of weeks. The quickly spreading virus appears to be less severe and cause less death and hospitalization than other versions of the virus.
Much is still uncertain about omicron, which is spreading extremely quickly and leading to a return to pandemic restrictions in some places. The variant is quickly becoming the dominant strain throughout the world.
While virus-related lockdowns and travel restrictions remain a big concern, most big investors have closed out their positions for 2021 and are likely to hold their ground until next week. Trading this week has been slow, with less than 3 billions shares exchanging hands on the New York Stock Exchange the last two days, compared to the 4.5 billion shares typically bought and sold on an average day.
Bond yields were moving higher in the final days of 2021. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was at 1.54% compared with 1.48% the day before.
Energy futures mostly rose. The price of U.S. crude oil was up 0.6%.
Before you consider Kroger, you'll want to hear this.
MarketBeat keeps track of Wall Street's top-rated and best performing research analysts and the stocks they recommend to their clients on a daily basis. MarketBeat has identified the five stocks that top analysts are quietly whispering to their clients to buy now before the broader market catches on... and Kroger wasn't on the list.
While Kroger currently has a "Hold" rating among analysts, top-rated analysts believe these five stocks are better buys.
View The 5 Stocks Here
Companies Mentioned in This Article
Compare These Stocks
Add These Stocks to My Watchlist