The S&P 500 index rose 3.8% last week, erasing the last two weeks’ declines and reaching a new closing record as investors grew more hopeful that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 may have smaller effects on the US economy than initially feared.
This marks the S&P 500’s first weekly gain since the week ended Nov. 19. It had fallen for two consecutive weeks on fears of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, especially as experts worried its high level of mutations could make the variant more likely to evade existing vaccines.
However, data released Wednesday from Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX) showed while a two-dose vaccine regimen wasn’t as effective against Omicron as it was against earlier variants of COVID-19, a third dose of their COVID-19 vaccine did neutralize it.
Also lifting sentiment were early reports that illness from the variant is milder than previously feared.
Meanwhile, November inflation data released Friday showed US consumer price growth had the largest advance last month on an annual basis in nearly four decades. The seasonally adjusted monthly gauge rose 0.8% in November, down slightly from a 0.9% increase in the prior month, but above the Econoday consensus for a gain of 0.7%. Annually, the measure climbed 6.8%, the largest increase since June 1982, although the growth rate was in line with analysts’ consensus.
All of the S&P 500’s 11 sectors were in the black for the week, led by a 6% climb in technology and a 3.7% increase in energy. Other sectors that were up by more than 3% each included materials, consumer staples, health care and industrials. The consumer discretionary sector had the smallest increase of the week, up 2.6%.
Next week, investors will be looking at more readings on the pricing environment, including the November producer price index due Tuesday, leading up to a two-day meeting of the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee. November retail sales and import prices will also be released Wednesday, among other reports.
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