Stock market news live updates: December 31, 2021

U.S. stocks lost steam in a lackluster trading session on Friday, as major indexes closed the last day of 2021 marginally lower, but still within striking distance of record highs made during a banner year.

The S&P 500 treaded water during the session but closed out 2021 up 27%, marking its third year of double-digit gains. The Dow and Nasdaq wavered, but all indices were close to record highs. 

Next year is poised to be another strong year in equities, though strategists anticipate the S&P 500 is unlikely to match the gains it saw in 2021.

The markets will have to weather rising inflation, determine the Federal Reserve’s pace on raising interest rates, and mull President Joe Biden’s second year in office as new COVID-19 cases swamp the U.S. That period is known as the “sophomore slump,” since the second year of a president’s term historically tends to be as much as 40% more volatile than the other three years, according to CFRA research chief investment strategist Sam Stovall.

“I think that 2022 is going to be a good year that tends to follow a great year,” Stovall told Yahoo Finance Live. “We certainly have a high wall of worry that we’re going to have to scale.”

U.S. equity markets were open on New Year’s Eve for the first time in a decade, thanks to NYSE Rule 7.2. It states that trading is closed either Friday or Monday if a holiday falls on a weekend, with the exception of “unusual business conditions, such as the end of a monthly or yearly accounting…

Read more…