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Wall Street flies as it crosses the finish line in a tumultuous year

Wall Street changed little in light trading on Friday, with investors taking a break as they prepare to ring in the New Year and close the books in 2021, marking the second year of recovery from a global pandemic.

The three major U.S. stock indexes are set for weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual gains, marking their strongest three-year gain since 1999.

The S&P 500 is on track for a 27% increase since the last trading day of 2020. As of Thursday, the benchmark has posted 70 record closeouts, the second highest on record. Using Refinitiv data going back to 1928, the highest number of record SPX closings in a single year was 77 in 1995.

Businesses, consumers, and the wider economy thrived in 2021 as they progressed through an ever-changing landscape, including a tumultuous transfer of power marked by the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill. Other factors include the phenomenon of ‘memes stock’, new variants of covid-19, a labor shortage, generous fiscal / monetary stimulus, hampered supply chains, booming and the resulting price spikes.

“The other three big central banks – the Fed, the BOJ and the ECB – are all very aggressive, and there is no doubt that money is finding its way into the securities markets, ”said Steve Massocca, Managing Director of Wedbush Securities. “So I think that was clearly the most important thing that happened in terms of the creation of the rally in 2021.”


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