Dow and S&P 500 Look to Fresh Records, Bitcoin Continues to Slide—and What Else Is Happening in the Stock Market Today

view original post

A year-end rally shows few signs of stopping, with stocks ending 2021 at record highs.

Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Stocks were poised to rise Thursday to new all-time highs, with a year-end rally showing few signs of stopping as markets continue to brush aside Covid-19 risks.

Stock market futures flitted around flat but were mostly positive, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average on track to open less than 10 points or 0.1% higher—just barely into record territory. The index rose 90 points in its sixth consecutive day of gains Wednesday, closing at a new, all-time high of 36,488 and eclipsing the previous record set Nov. 8.

The S&P 500 was also set to open at an all-time high, after notching its 70th record close of the year Wednesday and the second this week. Futures for the Nasdaq Composite similarly indicated an open in the green.

Overseas, the picture was more mixed, with London’s FTSE 100 slipping 0.1% and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 0.4% into the red.

Trading remains quiet during the holiday period. In the absence of substantial economic data, a rally heading into 2022 appears mostly driven by upbeat sentiment about economic growth. Markets seem confident that—though it is more contagious—the Omicron variant of coronavirus will do little to derail the economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Despite global surges in Covid cases, the markets are reflecting the new reality that Covid is here to stay albeit more on our terms than its,” wrote Kevin Philip, a managing director at Bel Air Investment Advisors. “The data out of South Africa regarding hospitalizations and the new updated guidance from the CDC are truly encouraging.”

“Next year, in my opinion, we are facing less of a Covid-influenced world, and a return toward normalcy,” Philip added. “The U.S. has a new infrastructure program in place, with less likelihood of higher personal and corporate tax rates. We also have a friendly Federal Reserve, which the market views is responsibly accelerating its wind-down of quantitative easing.”  

In cryptocurrency markets, Bitcoin, the leading digital asset, continued to slide. Bitcoin was down around 2% to below $47,000, bringing declines that began at the beginning of this week close to 10%.

Write to Jack Denton at jack.denton@dowjones.com