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Stock market news live updates: December 29, 2021

US stock futures were muted Wednesday morning after the S&P 500 took a breather from the previous trading day and ended a choppy session in the red after the index halted a four-day climb to its 70th all-time high.

Contracts on the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq rose slightly, but were mostly flat.

Markets closed with mixed feelings after volatile action from all three major indices as investors weighed in on rising coronavirus cases around the world. After hitting an intraday high, the S&P 500 reversed course in the afternoon to tick lower as the Dow extended a five-day winning streak. The Nasdaq faltered, swept up by continued sales of technology stocks.

Main Street Asset Management CIO Erin Gibbs told Yahoo Finance Live that pullbacks caused by the Omicron variant are similar to those that occurred when the Delta stock first started and will likely see the same gradual but upward recovery.

“We encourage our clients to stay in the market, not get out, because when those recovery periods hit and sentiment changes, it happens so fast that you’ve often missed out by the time you get back into the market, ” she said.

Global COVID-19 cases hit a daily record this week, with more than 1.44 million global infections reported as of Monday, according to Bloomberg. Infections of the highly transmissible Omicron variant — found to spread 70 times faster than previous strains — comprise many of the newly detected cases, although studies indicate disease caused by the strain is less likely to be severe or lead to hospitalizations.

The CDC also relaxed its guidelines on quarantine after exposure to the virus, halving its recommendation to isolate from 10 to five days if the test is positive.

December was a volatile month for investors weighing the impact of the tension on the economy, but recent developments suggesting that Omicron could cause milder illness helped markets shrug off previous concerns.

“Perversely, bad news about Omicron could be good news for markets as it gives the Fed the impetus to continue with this very accommodative monetary policy,” Octavio Marenzi, chief executive officer of Opimas LLC told Yahoo Finance Live. “Too much good news for the real economy can actually be very bad for the markets.”

On Tuesday, US house price growth slowed for the third straight month, but continued to rise globally. The Standard & Poor’s S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National House Price Index. posted an annual gain of 19.1% in October, down from 19.7% in September. The 20-City Composite posted an annual gain of 18.4%, up from 19.1% a month earlier.

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Home prices continue to rise at double digits — two to three times faster than a year ago — in all metropolitan areas, CoreLogic deputy chief economist Selma Hepp said in a statement ahead of the results.

“Unfortunately, house price growth will be constraining for many young buyers who have not yet built up enough equity, and an expected rise in mortgage rates next year will pose further challenges,” she said. “Together, these two factors will keep the continued rise in house prices in check.”

The rest of the week is expected to remain calm amid generally low year-end trading volumes and a light calendar of economic data and earnings releases, although investors will tune in on Thursday for a new reading of the first jobless claims as they continue to assess the progress of the economic recovery.

9:05 a.m. ET: US trade deficit rises to record

The US trade deficit in goods rose to a record in November as imports surged and exports fell.

The Commerce Department reported that the goods trade deficit widened 17.5% last month to $97.8 billion, from $83.2 billion in October. The new figure surpasses the previous record deficit of $97 billion recorded in September. Goods exports decreased by 2.1%, while imports increased by 4.7%.

Meanwhile, wholesale inventories rose 1.2% last month, the report also found. Retail inventories increased 2.0% and retail inventories, excluding cars, used in the calculation of gross domestic product, increased 1.3%

7:00 a.m. ET: Contracts on the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq remain muted

The futures markets were largely flat before the open for the day:

S&P 500 Futures (ES=F): +4.50 points (+0.09%), to 4,783.00

Dow Futures (YM=F): +15.00 points (+0.04%), up to 36,297.00

Nasdaq Futures (NQ=F): +37.50 points (+0.23%) to 16,525.00

Crude (CL=F): -$0.40 (-0.53%) to $75.58 per barrel

Gold (GC=F): -$14.20 (-0.78%) to $1,796 per ounce

10-year Treasury (^TNX): -1.2 bps to yield 1.493%

6:00pm Tuesday ET: Equity Futures Open Flat

Here’s how the markets advanced on overnight trading:

S&P 500 futures (ES=F): +3.75 points (+0.08%), to 4,782.25

Dow Futures (YM=F): +8.00 points (+0.02%), up to 36,290.00

Nasdaq Futures (NQ=F): +30.75 points (+0.19%) to 16,518.75

Crude Oil (CL=F): +$0.09 (+0.12%) to $76.07 a barrel

Gold (GC=F): -$4.00 (-0.22%) to $1,806.90 per ounce

10-year Treasury (^TNX): -1.6 bps to yield 1.484%

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

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