S&P 500 hits record as markets enter 'Santa Claus Rally'

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Dec. 27 (UPI) — The S&P 500 closed at a record high for a second consecutive session on Monday as investors strap in for a so-called “Santa Claus Rally” to end the year.

The broad index rose 1.38% on the day for its 69th record close of the year. Meanwhile, the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 351.82 points, or 0.98%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.39%.

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The S&P 500, which is up 27% for the year, historically posts gains during the Santa Claus Rally — the final five trading days of the current year and the first two days of the new year — which began on Monday.

The index has gained 77% during this year-end rally period over the past 92 years, gaining an average of 2.66% over the nine days, according to data from Sundial Capital Research.

Monday’s gains were spurred by advances in tech stocks as chipmakers AMD and Nvidia rose 5.62% and 4.4% respectively.

Oil prices were also on the rise which sent energy stocks higher as APA Corp stock grew 7.29%, Devon Energy gained 6.09% and Diamondback Energy climbed 4.91%.

News over the weekend that holiday sales rose 8.5% in 2021 sent retail stocks like Ralph Lauren and Ross up 4.19% and 2.01% respectively.

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Investors also seemed to look past concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant amid studies that infections from the strain may be more mild.

“We do not expect Omicron to impact the growth outlook in any significant way, but rather it is likely to accelerate the end of the pandemic,” JPMorgan’s Dubrayko Lakos-Bujas said in a note.

Despite the positive outlook, airline stocks were down Monday as major players were forced to cancel flights due to COVID-19 cases among staff. Delta stock fell 0.76%, United Airlines dropped 0.65% and American Airlines fell 0.49%.