Unemployment claims down

Stocks Decline to End the Year

Equity markets wrapped up a bullish 2021 on a weaker note as the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq fell.

The Dow and broader U.S. stock market traded lower on Friday, capping off a strong year on a weaker note.

Wall Street’s major indices were lower at the close, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) falling 59.78 points, or 0.2%, to 36,338.30.

The broad S&P 500 Index (SPY) of large-cap stocks declined 0.3% to settle at 4,766.18. Most sectors finished in negative territory.

Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQ) declined 0.6% to close at 15,644.97.

A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX (VXX) was little changed on Friday. The so-called “investor fear index” reached an intraday low of 16.99 on a scale of 1-100, where 20 represents the historical average. It would eventually settle down 0.6% at 17.22.

In commodities, oil prices declined on Friday, as U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures fell $1.67, or 2%, to $75.43 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the international futures contract, declined $1.75, or 2.2%, to $77.78 a barrel.

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In precious metals, gold prices rallied, as the February futures contract gained $16.00, or 0.9%, to $1,830.10 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Silver futures advanced 28 cents, or 1.2%, to trade at $23.35 a troy ounce.

The Final Word: The major U.S. equity benchmarks performed very well in 2021, with the Dow Jones gaining 18.7%, the S&P 500 rising 26.9% and the Nasdaq Composite finishing 21.4% higher.