Markets extend rally nudging S&P 500 to all-time high

<p><p>Technology companies led U.S. stocks broadly higher Monday, extending the market’s recent rally and nudging the S&amp;P 500 to another all-time high.</p></p><p><p>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.</p></p><p><p>The S&amp;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.</p></p><p><p>The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1% and the technology-heavy Nasdaq rose 1.4%.</p></p><p><p>The major indexes posted weekly gains last week as fears ebbed about the potential impact of the COVID-19 omicron variant.</p></p><p><p>However, much is still uncertain about omicron, which is spreading extremely quickly and leading to a return to pandemic restrictions in some places.</p></p><p><p>The S&amp;P 500 rose 65.40 points to 4,791.19. The index has notched 69 all-time 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.</p></p><p><p>Small company stocks also rose. The Russell 2000 index gained 19.88 points, or 0.9%, to 2,261.46.</p></p><p><p>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.</p></p><p><p>However most big investors have closed out their positions for 2021, and are like to hold their ground until next week.</p></p><p><p>Technology companies led the gains Monday. Nvidia climbed 4.4%, while Apple and Microsoft each rose 2.3%.</p></p><p><p>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%.</p></p><p><p>Health care and financial stocks also helped lift the market. Abbott Laboratories rose 1.7% and Morgan Stanley rose 1.1%.</p></p><p><p>Hundreds of flights were cancelled in the U.S. over the holiday weekend, with airlines reporting COVID-related staffing problems.</p></p><p><p>France reported more than 100,000 new cases in a daily record.</p></p><p><p>Airline stocks closed lower on the news. Delta Air Lines fell 0.8% and United Airlines slipped 0.6%.</p></p><p><p>Shares in cruise line operators also fell. Norwegian Cruise Line slid 2.6% for one of the biggest declines in the S&amp;P 500.</p></p><p><p>Carnival dropped 1.2% and Royal Caribbean fell 1.3%.</p></p><p><p>Authorities in many cou<span class=”print_trim”>ntries 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.</span></p></p><p><p>Bond yields were mixed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 1.48% from 1.49% on Thursday.</p></p><p><p><span class=”print_trim”>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.</span></p></p><p><p><span class=”print_trim”>In other international developments, the Turkish lira fell another 5% against the dollar.</span></p></p><p><p><span class=”print_trim”>The currency has tumbled sharply this year as the Turkish government has tried to invigorate its economy despite chronically high inflation.</span></p></p><p><p><span class=”print_trim”>The government announced a plan last week that would encourage Turks to put their money back into lira bank accounts to prop up the currency.</span></p></p>