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Stock market news live updates: December 27, 2021

The S&P 500 closed again at a record high on Monday.

For the second consecutive trading session, the index shot past its previous record as markets moved higher in the final week of 2021. All three major US indices gained in a promising sign to the stock market’s bulls that a Santa Claus Rally is well underway .

At close, the S&P was up 1.38% to 4,791.19, while the Dow saw a 350-point jump to 36,302.38. The Nasdaq Composite also gained 1.39%, closing at 15,871.26.

The S&P’s move marked its 69th year-end high after the index hit an intraday high in morning trading, even as COVID-19 cases mount.

The year-end Santa Claus Rally — one in which stocks rise in the last five trading sessions of a year, plus the first two trading days of the new year — is building momentum. For obscure reasons, the S&P 500 has gained 77% of the time in its year-end rally over the past 92 years, according to data from Sundial Capital Research. The average profit in this nine-day trading period was 2.66%.

The market will enter 2022 with several key considerations to weigh, but with the greatest focus on the course of the pandemic and mounting inflationary pressures, as well as any action the Federal Reserve might take in response.

“Inflation and Omicron are the two main catalysts for the stock market right now,” APAC CEO at Qraft Technologies Francis Oh told Yahoo Finance. “I think those catalysts have been priced in by the market volatility… yet I think the market will exit cautiously.”

Merck (MRK) received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for its home drug COVID-19 last week, just one day after Pfizer (PFE) was also approved to use its own treatment.

The pill developed by Merck in collaboration with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, called molnupiravir, was found to reduce hospitalizations and deaths by about 30% in clinical trial data. Pfizer’s Pill was found to be 90% effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk patients.

“One of the ways pandemics end is a significant mutation of the virus. It seems that Omicron can be our friend in that regard, significant mutations so different from the parent that people don’t get that sick,” said True Health Initiative President Dr. David Katz at Yahoo Finance Live.

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Investors processed a large number of economic releases ahead of the holiday weekend.

The Labor Department reported that initial unemployment claims totaling 205,000, maintaining a downward trend from the peaks of their pandemic peak and reflecting the labor shortage caused by a demand for workers heading into the new year. The latest press brings the four-week moving average for new claims to its lowest level in 52 years, at 2,750 week-over-week to hit 206,250.

Meanwhile, US consumer prices rose at the fastest pace in nearly four decades as holiday shoppers face rising levels of inflation.

“Employees have a lot of power, and that will likely result in continued pay increases,” Girard Chief Investment Officer Timothy Chubb told Yahoo Finance. “What worries us from an inflation standpoint is where we might see some of those inflation risks hand over to the job market?”

Meanwhile, US new home sales rose 12.4% in November to a seven-month high of 744,000, supported by low mortgage rates and stronger housing demand.

US durable goods orders rose 2.5% in November, up from the previous month, fueled by a strong increase in aircraft orders.

“We’ve said this is definitely a buy-the-dip market of sorts as we expect more earnings upgrades to come,” Anik Sen, Global Head of Equities at PineBridge Investments, told Yahoo Finance Live. “We think the real debate should be about the length and strength of the economic cycle ahead.”

4:15 PM ET: Apple on tiptoe valued at around $3 trillion

The shares of Apple Inc. (AAPL) closed 2.3% higher at $180.33 each, pushing the stock nearing a new all-time high.

The profit added more than $66 billion to the company’s market cap, according to Bloomberg data, bringing it to $2.96 trillion.

Apple’s climb comes on a positive day for the broader tech sector and a strong day for markets in general.

4pm ET: S&P Sees Another Record High Close

This is how markets ended the ET trading session:

S&P500 (^ GSPC): +65.55 (+1.39%) to 4,791.34

dow (^DJI): +352.21 (+0.98%) to 36,302.77

Nasdaq (^IXIC): +217.89 (+1.39%) to 15,871.26

rough (CL=F): +$1.90 (+2.57%) to $75.69 per barrel

Gold (GC=F): +$0.90 (+0.05%) to $1,812.60 per ounce

10-year treasury (^TNX): -1.2 bps for 1.4810% yield

2:28 PM ET: Fauci says US should implement vaccine mandate for domestic travel

The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said the United States should “seriously” consider requiring COVID-19 vaccines for domestic flights during a Monday morning appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“Making vaccination mandatory is an extra incentive to get more people vaccinated,” he said. “If you want to do that with domestic flights, I think that should be seriously considered.”

The statement comes as the recent wave caused by Omicron is leading to flight cancellations across the country, mainly driven by staff shortages caused by the virus. More than 1,000 U.S. flights were canceled at 1 p.m. ET Monday, according to Bloomberg.

Airline shares remained in the red during midday trading, with American Airlines (AAL) falling 0.58% to $18.16 a share, United Airlines (UAL) falling 0.89% to $44.47 each and Delta Air Lines (DAL) fell 0.98% to trade at $38.92 per share.

“If stocks fall, now is the time to buy,” DLB Financial Services CEO Debbie Boyd told Yahoo Finance Live while discussing airlines. “Think of those stocks as on sale.”

12:17 PM ET: Markets Rise Higher During Intraday Trading

Here’s how stocks traded during the afternoon session ET:

S&P500 (^ GSPC): +48.18 (+1.02%) to 4,773.97

dow (^DJI): +230.93 (+0.64%) to 36,181.49

Nasdaq (^IXIC): +174.28 (+1.11%) to 15,827.65

rough (CL=F): +$1.99 (+2.70%) to $75.78 per barrel

Gold (GC=F): -$1.20 (-0.07%) to $1,810.50 per ounce

10-year treasury (^TNX): -1.2 bps for 1.4810% yield

11:41 a.m. ET: Tesla climbs to biggest four-day gain since March

Shares of Tesla rose 3.52% to $1,104.55 each, leading most of its electric vehicle peers and approaching the company’s best four-day earnings streak since March.

Among other industry stocks, Lucid Group (LCID) gained 1.30% in intraday trading to $38.13 a share, Nikola (NKLA) remained flat, trading at about $11.09 apiece, and Canoo (GOEV) fell 2.64% to $8.28 per share. Rivian (RVN) rose 5.73% to $102.39 per share.

9:53 a.m. ET: Airline Shares Drop Next Weekend from Cancellations

US travel stocks plunged in early trade after major airlines reported hundreds of cancellations and delays amid staff shortages caused by an increase in COVID-19 cases among crews and staff.

More than 2,800 flights were disrupted over the Christmas weekend, caused by the latest wave of the coronavirus and the inclement weather from a winter storm in the northwest of the country.

American Airlines (AAL) fell -2.70% to $17.77 per share at market opening. United Airlines (UAL) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) each fell 2% to $44.01 and $38.47 per share, respectively.

Cruise ship operators also took a hit: Carnival Corp. (CCL) fell 3.5% to $20.45 a share, Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL) fell 3.1% to $77.07 a share and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) fell 4.14% up to $21.78 per part.

9:30 a.m. ET: Markets Open Higher Towards Final Trading Week of 2021

These were the key moves at the start of the ET trading session:

S&P500 (^ GSPC): +11.51 (+0.24%) to 4,737.30

dow (^DJI): +61.77 (+0.17%) to 36,012.33

Nasdaq (^IXIC): +131.47 (+0.85%) to 15,653.37

rough (CL=F): -$0.25 (-0.34%) to $73.54 per barrel

Gold (GC=F): -$1.50 (-0.08%) to $1,810.20 per ounce

10-year treasury (^TNX): -1.2 bps for 1.4810% yield

Monday at 7:10 AM ET: Futures one inch higher after Christmas weekend

S&P 500 futures (ES = F): +8.00 (+0.17%), to 4,723.75

Dow futures (YM=F): +13.00 points (+0.04%), up to 35,845.00

Nasdaq futures (NQ = F): +39.50 points (+0.24%) to 16,338.50

rough (CL=F): -$1.07 (-1.45%) to $72.72 per barrel

Gold (GC=F): -$4.80 (-0.26%) to $1,806.90 per ounce

10-year treasury (^TNX): -0.09 fps yields -0.07%

Correction: The year-end Santa rally is when stocks rise in the last five trading sessions of a year, plus the first two trading days of the new year. The number of days was incorrectly stated in an earlier version of this article.

Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc

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