Last week was a quiet trading week as the S&P 500 index returned 0.87% and closed near all-time highs. The S&P 500 index returned 28.68% in 2021, the 3rd best year since the turn of the century, trailing only 2019 and 2013. Cyclical sectors Energy, Real Estate and Financials along with Information Technology outpaced the broad market in 2021. While Utilities, Consumer Staples and Industrials were the laggards last year.
Bond yields edged higher while the curve slightly flattened during the final trading week of the year. Muted COVID-19 deaths and less restrictive CDC guidelines following the record-setting omicron variant outbreak de-risked potential virus-related economic disruptions and helped yields rise. Initial jobless claims for the week ended December 25th declined to 198,000 compared to an estimated 206,000.