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Santa Claus Rally Underway

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It’s a Santa Claus Rally in earnest to start the final week of trading in 2021. Following a nice upswing in last Thursday’s half-day of trading activity, we see more robust stock market growth in today’s full session. In fact, for the second-straight trading day, the S&P 500 has notched another all-time closing high: +1.38% to 4791.19.

The Nasdaq was just as good, +1.39% on the day, +218 points — somewhat on the strength of the Tech sector which gained +2.2% today, including Microsoft’s (MSFT - Free Report) +2.3%. The Dow went up +352 points on the day, +0.98%, with Chevron (CVX - Free Report) and (CRM - Free Report) both +2%. Only Disney (DIS - Free Report) and Boeing (BA - Free Report) were lower on the day for the blue-chip index. The small-cap Russell 2000 gained +0.89%.

The “Santa Claus Rally” traditionally runs the week after Christmas and goes into the first couple sessions of the new year, creating more of a back-loaded surge to bullish sentiment. It is also common enough that market participants have come to anticipate something of a Santa Claus Rally every year; thus, it can have a negative pull on sentiment if it fails to materialize. In 2021, so far so good.

Despite the surge in Omicron cases of the Covid-19 variant, markets are feeling festive on a bedrock strong economy and much-improved employment situation. Besides, when Omicron was first reported, the day after Thanksgiving, traders feared the worst and sold off heavily. This period was marked with a double-whammy of the Fed finally scaling down its asset purchase program around the same time. Plenty of people were putting 2 and 2 together and seeing “stagflation.”

Since the heavy period of shedding value from the market, investors got back to work filling in positions with some bargain shopping. We’ve now gotten through most of this, by evidence of the S&P reaching fresh closing highs again today. As of today, the Dow is +20% year to date, the S&P is up nearly +30% and the Nasdaq is +25%. Even the more challenged Russell has gained a very solid +16% from the first trading session of January.

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