The Markets (as of market close December 18, 2020)

Tech stocks and consumer shares opened last week on an upswing. Unfortunately, the rest of the market lagged. Investors faced the prospect of more stringent restrictions as COVID-19 cases continued to surge. The Nasdaq (0.5%) and the Russell 2000 (0.1%) posted gains, while the Dow (-0.6%), the S&P 500 (-0.4%), and the Global Dow (-0.2%) fell. Crude oil prices rose, although the energy sector dropped more than 3.5%. The dollar and 10-year Treasury yields declined. On the positive side, vaccines were rolled out in parts of the United States last Monday.

Stocks rebounded last Tuesday on news of the approval of a second virus vaccine and positive developments on additional fiscal stimulus. Each of the benchmark indexes listed here gained value, led by the Russell 2000 (2.4%), followed by the S&P 500 (1.3%), the Nasdaq (1.3%), the Dow (1.1%), and the Global Dow (1.0%). Treasury yields jumped higher as did crude oil prices. The dollar lost value. All of the major market sectors posted gains, with utilities, energy, and materials leading the way.

Investors got more encouraging news on movement toward a fiscal stimulus package as congressional leaders continued to negotiate last Wednesday. Mega-caps, retail, and information technology drove stocks higher as the Nasdaq (0.5%), the S&P 500 (0.2%), and the Global Dow (0.4%) advanced. The Russell 2000 (-0.3%) and the Dow (-0.2%) fell. Treasury yields dropped as bond prices rose. Crude oil prices advanced for the third consecutive day, while the dollar mostly declined.

Investors continued to ride the wave of hope for a new stimulus package before the end of the year. Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq reached record highs by the close of trading last Thursday, while the Russell 2000 (1.3%), the Global Dow (0.5%), and the Dow (0.5%) posted solid gains. Crude oil prices and Treasury yields rose, while the dollar fell. Among the sectors, real estate, materials, health care, and utilities led the way, while communication services and energy lagged.

Last week ended on a sour note as more congressional haggling over a fiscal stimulus package dominated the day’s news. Stocks closed lower on the day with the Global Dow falling 0.5%, followed by the Dow and the Russell 2000, each of which dropped 0.4%. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq came down from their record highs, losing 0.4% and 0.1%, respectively. Materials, health care, industrials, and consumer staples were the only market sectors to gain ground last Friday, but only marginally. Crude oil prices, the dollar, and Treasury yields all closed higher.

Despite the ongoing negotiations over additional fiscal stimulus, investors continued to see value in stocks, pushing each of the benchmark indexes higher last week. The Nasdaq and the Russell 2000 enjoyed solid gains, followed by the S&P 500, the Global Dow, and the Dow. Barring a major downturn, all of the indexes will close the year ahead of their 2019 marks, with the Nasdaq nearly 45.0% higher, followed by the Russell 2000, the S&P 500, the Global Dow, and the Dow.

Crude oil prices advanced for the third consecutive week, closing at $49.05 per barrel by late Friday afternoon, up from the prior week’s price of $46.58 per barrel. The price of gold (COMEX) closed at $1,886.30 last week, up from the prior week’s price of $1,842.90. The national average retail price for regular gasoline was $2.158 per gallon on December 14, $0.002 higher than the prior week’s price but $0.378 less than a year ago. Click here for the full article:Winthrop Partners Market Update 12-21-2020