US Stock Markets Ended Nov. 26, 2021

The S&P 500 Index posted a -2.18% return last week due to Friday's 2.27% slide producing its largest single-day point drop in 2021 with a 106.84-point decline. Prior to Friday's decline, the index had gained 9.37% for the fourth quarter and 26.78% YTD. The index showed minimal movement for the first three days of the shortened week for the Thanksgiving holiday. U.S. initial jobless claims of 199K were well below the 260K expected and the previous week's 268K as claims continue to decline from the pandemic highs. President Biden announced a release of 50 million barrels of oil from the U.S. Strategic Reserve in efforts to combat any sense of strain at the pumps. The average price of gasoline in the U.S. is $3.70 per gallon, approximately $1.25 higher than one year ago. However, oil prices did not decrease on the news, as markets viewed the amount too small to make an impact on prices at the pump. Energy was the best performing sector and the only one with a positive return last week in the S&P 500 Index, as the S&P 500 Energy Index returned 1.62%. Crude oil declined 10.45% for the week and closed at $68.15 per barrel after dropping over 13% on Friday. Lower trading volumes were expected on Black Friday, but markets were forced to digest the news of new Covid-19 variant Omicron coming out of Botswana and South Africa. Questions regarding the new quickly spreading variant, including the effectiveness of current vaccines and the difference in strength to other variants, caused concern in the markets, though helped vaccine developer Moderna Inc. jump 20.57% on Friday. Equity markets declined on the news as all sectors were in negative territory with the S&P 500 Energy Index (-4.07%) and the S&P 500 Financials Index (-3.27%) taking the largest hits, with fears that the new variant would affect future economic activity. Some of Friday's hardest hit energy names included APA Corp, Occidental Petroleum Corp, Hess Corp, Valero Energy Corp, and financial names American Express Company, Huntington Bancshares Inc., Comerica Inc., and Wells Fargo & Company. Travel and leisure stocks also felt the pain with cruise lines leading the group down. Earnings announcements expected this week include Inc., Dollar General Corp, The Kroger Company, Ulta Beauty Inc., among others.
Posted on Monday, November 29, 2021 @ 9:15 AM

These posts were prepared by First Trust Advisors L.P., and reflect the current opinion of the authors. They are based upon sources and data believed to be accurate and reliable. Opinions and forward looking statements expressed are subject to change without notice. This information does not constitute a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security.