S&P 500 Closes at Record High due to Retail Sales Cheer

On Monday, the S&P 500 index closed at a record high, which marked its fourth consecutive session of gains. This was because strong retail sales in the United States underscored the economic strength, while easing concerns from the flight cancellations driven by the Omicron variant that affected travel stocks. There was an 8.5% increase in US retail sales year-on-year in this holiday season because of an economic boom. A report by MasterCard Inc. provided the data, which gave a boost to the retailing S&P 500 index. There was a decline in travel-related stocks, which are highly sensitive to COVID-19 news after about 800 additional flights were canceled by US airlines on Monday. 

Thousands more had already been nixed over the Christmas weekend because of soaring cases of the Omicron variant all over the country. This resulted in a 0.57% fall in the S&P 500 airlines index. Amongst the biggest declines that were seen in the benchmark, S&P 500 were cruise operators Carnival Corp, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings that fell by 1.18%, 1.35%, and 2.55%, respectively. According to experts, the market appears to be in an interesting place, as the consumer appears to be strong and an 8% increase in spending. 

They further said that since 70% of the GDP comes from personal spending, it appears to be flush. The Omicron variant is a reminder that the coronavirus still exists and the discussion will continue, but it appears that the doomsday scenario of COVID that was seen back in 2020 is now the past. There was a gain in all of the 11 S&P 500 sector indexes, with tech and energy leading percentage gains. There was a rise of 351.82 points in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, or 0.98. The Nasdaq Composite increased by 1.39%, which is around 217.89 points, and the S&P 500 gained by 1.38% or 65.4 points. 

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There was a 4.9% increase in the S&P 500 in its recent climb, which marks its biggest percentage increase in a four-day period, after early November 2020. Mega cap companies were behind the Nasdaq Composite boost, including Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp, Meta Platform, and Tesla Inc. As far as the main US stock indexes are concerned, they are on track for a third consecutive yearly gain, whereas the benchmark S&P 500 index is ready to record its best three-year performance after 1999. The trading volume was around 7.76 billion shares on US exchanges, as opposed to the average of 11.74 billion shares for the full session in the last 20 days of trading. 

The decliners on the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) were outnumbered by the advancing issues by a ratio of 1 to 2.29, whereas advancers were also favored on the Nasdaq Composite by a 1.09 to 1 ratio. The number of 52-week highs recorded on the S&P 500 index was 58 in total and there were no new lows. As for the Nasdaq Composite, it recorded 145 new lows, whereas the new highs were around 101. 

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