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All 3 Major U.S. Stock Indexes Set for Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, and Annual Gains as 2021 Comes to An End

All 3 Major U.S. Stock Indexes Set for Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, and Annual Gains as 2021 Comes to An End

Wall Street edged lower in light trading on Friday, with investors taking a breather as they prepared to ring in the new year and close the books on 2021, marking the second year of recovery from a global pandemic.

All three major U.S. stock indexes are set for weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual gains, achieving their biggest three-year advance since 1999, Reuters reports. The S&P 500 is on course for a 27% increase since the last trading day of 2020. Through Thursday, the benchmark index has registered 70 record-high closes, the second-most ever. Using Refinitiv data back to 1928, the most SPX record-high closes in a single year was 77 in 1995.

Earnings results from S&P 500 companies blew past analyst estimates to deliver year-on-year growth in the first three quarters of the year of 52.8%, 96.3%, and 42.6%, respectively, according to Refinitiv, which currently sees fourth-quarter annual earnings growth of 22.3%.

Companies, consumers, and the broader economy largely thrived in 2021 amid a constantly shifting landscape, including a tumultuous transfer of Presidential power marked by the January 6th Capitol riot. Other factors included the “meme stock” phenomenon, new COVID-19 variants, a labor shortage, generous fiscal/monetary stimulus, hobbled supply chains, booming demand, and the resulting price spikes.

Energy, real estate, and microchips–all sectors associated with economic recovery and booming demand–were among 2021’s top performers, with growth stocks handily outperforming value stocks.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which burst onto the scene in early 2020 and prompted the steepest, quickest economic contraction in history, continues to linger, pressuring travel-related stocks. Market-leading tech and tech-adjacent mega-cap stocks, which outperformed the broader market in the first year of the global health crisis, lagged as the economy slowly reopened and vaccines were deployed.

Early data suggests the Omicron variant, which has caused an abrupt spike in global infections of the disease, is less virulent than its predecessors read more, and economic data is increasingly suggesting a return to normal, two years after the first cases of COVID-19 were reported.

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