By ALEX VEIGA
AP Business Writer
Wall Street ended another wobbly day mostly higher, enough for the S&P 500 to notch another record high. The benchmark index edged up 0.1%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2% and the Nasdaq slipped 0.1%. Retailers and companies reliant on consumer spending were among the better performers coming off the Christmas holiday shopping season. With two trading days left in the year, the S&P 500 is headed for a gain of more than 27% for 2021, nearly as big as its gain in 2019. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.55%.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
Stocks edged mostly higher on Wall Street in afternoon trading Wednesday, putting the S&P 500 within striking distance of another all-time high.
The benchmark index is on pace to close up more than 27% for 2021. That would be its best performance since 2019, another banner year for the market.
The S&P 500 was up 0.1% as of 2:17 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.3% and the Nasdaq slipped 0.1%. All three indexes started the day slightly in the green.
Retailers and companies reliant on consumer spending were among the better performers coming off the Christmas holiday shopping season. Target, Nike, Kroger, Under Armour and AutoZone were all up 1.3% or more.
Health care stocks also rose. Biogen jumped 7.6%.
Communication, technology and energy stocks kept the market’s gains in check. Facebook parent Meta Platforms slipped 0.9%, chipmaker Nvidia fell 1.3% and Exxon Mobil dropped 0.8%.
Investors have become more comfortable with the omicron variant of the coronavirus in the last couple of weeks. The quickly spreading virus appears to be less severe and cause less death and hospitalization than other versions of the virus.
Much is still uncertain about omicron, which is spreading extremely quickly and leading to a return to pandemic restrictions in some places. The variant is quickly becoming the dominant strain throughout the world.
While virus-related lockdowns and travel restrictions remain a big concern, most big investors have closed out their positions for 2021 and are likely to hold their ground until next week. Trading this week has been slow, with less than 3 billions shares exchanging hands on the New York Stock Exchange the last two days, compared to the 4.5 billion shares typically bought and sold on an average day.
Bond yields were moving higher in the final days of 2021. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was at 1.54% compared with 1.48% the day before.
Energy futures mostly rose. The price of U.S. crude oil was up 0.6%.
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