Dow rises 100 factors as Wall Avenue completes a wild 12 months of buying and selling

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 rose slightly on Thursday as Wall Street closed one of the most volatile years for the market recently.

The Dow was trading 102 points, or 0.3%. The S&P 500 was also up 0.3%, while the Nasdaq Composite fell slightly. Intel rose 2.8% to keep the Dow higher. Financials gained nearly 1% to lift the S&P 500.

The moves on Thursday came after the release of a better-than-expected reading on weekly jobless claims in the US. The number of first-time applicants for unemployment benefits stood at 787,000 in the week ended December 26, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a pressure of 828,000.

“While the improvement does not coincide with the narrative of a tightening of COVID restrictions … we must take it at face value,” wrote Thomas Simons, Jefferies money market economist. “In terms of payroll for the next few weeks, they are likely to be still very weak, with initial claims increasing between the December and November survey weeks and ongoing claims showing their smallest decline since June.”

The unprecedented market moves in 2020

Stocks fell sharply in February and March as the Covid-19 pandemic spread outside of China, forcing lockdowns on countries that stalled economic activity. The S&P 500 saw the fastest decline in its history of 30%.

After stocks bottomed in late March and the Federal Reserve cracked heavily on credit markets, stocks rebounded dramatically and hit a number of record highs before the year ended. Recent moves into record-breaking areas came with the launch of several Covid-19 vaccines and a new Congressional economic aid package.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite has gained 43.2% year-to-date, while the S&P 500 and Dow have gained 15.6% and 6.7%.

“To use an overused word, this was unprecedented,” said Sam Stovall, CFRA Research’s chief investment strategist. “We have never had to deal with anything like this.”

These gains were due to sharp daily moves that kept even the most seasoned investors on their toes year round.

The S&P 500 closed at least 1% in 110 of the 253 trading days this year, compared to just 38 days in 2019. Those 110 daily swings include two rallies of more than 9% in March and a 12% decline in the same month .

“If Rip Van Winkle woke up today he would say, ‘What a great year; we are up 15%. You can’t beat that,'” added Stovall. “Then he would open up his statements and see that the S&P 500 lost 20% in the first quarter and then rose exactly 20% in the second quarter if he believed there was a flaw in the system. He would be right . ” , it was Covid. “

Tech was by far the dominant sector in 2020, rising more than 40% over the year as the pandemic forced more people to work from home. This shift resulted in an increasing demand for cloud services and computing equipment.

Consumer discretion increased more than 30% this year, due to more people shopping online. Amazon stock rose 76% in 2020, while the value of Etsy nearly quadrupled.

Scott Wren, Senior Global Market Strategist at the Wells Fargo Investment Institute, called 2020 a “year of opportunity”.

“The exchange offered investors several options to use outstanding funds in 2020,” Wren wrote in a statement to customers. “The good news is that we expect additional opportunities to showcase in the new year.”

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