US Stock Markets Ended Dec. 17, 2021

Stocks traded lower last week on renewed fears of Covid induced restrictions due to increased cases led by the Omicron variant. The S&P 500 was down almost 2% and the technology-heavy NASDAQ Composite Index lost about 3%. The Federal Reserve also moved markets last week as Chairman Jerome Powell outlined the central banks' plans for raising interest rates next year and winding down bond purchases which have helped to keep rates low. The policy shift was met with a positive move in stocks on Wednesday, followed by two consecutive sell-offs to finish out the week. The selling on Thursday and Friday was viewed as a "de-risking" trade going into options expiration on Friday. Energy stocks in the S&P 500 were the worst-performing sector last week as crude traded lower to close at just under $71 a barrel. A note from Goldman Sachs outlined a bullish case for oil. The bank predicts $85 oil next year and the possibility of triple-digit prices resulting from either higher drilling costs due to inflation or an unexpected supply shortfall. This longer-term bullish call comes after a 40% rally this year in oil prices. Health Care stocks in the S&P 500 were the best performing group last week. The top 6 best-performing stocks in the index were all Health Care names, with big pharma names Moderna, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, and Bristol-Meyers Sqibb leading the way. Cerner Corp, was the best performing company in the index. News that Oracle is in talks to buy the medical-records company for around $30 billion dollars lifted the stock by over 16% in premarket trading on Friday. The deal would be Oracle's largest to date upon completion. Looking ahead to next week, GDP, home sales, and jobless claims are on the calendar before the Christmas holiday.
Posted on Monday, December 20, 2021 @ 8:14 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.