The S&P 500 index fell 1.9% last week as worries about inflation and COVID-19 flared, weighing on risk sentiment.
The market benchmark ended the week at 4,620.64, down from last Friday’s closing level of 4,712.02. However, the index is still in positive territory for the month, up 1.2% for December to date, and is up 23% for the year to date.
Fresh restrictions across Europe, with many holiday events being canceled, brought worries about the variant’s economic impact back to the forefront.
Inflation also continues to be a concern. The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee on Wednesday released a statement indicating inflation fears have pushed the central bank’s policy-setting committee to accelerate its pace of asset price tapering starting in January. It also suggested there could be three rate increases by the end of 2022.
The energy sector had the largest percentage drop of the week, down 5.1%, followed by a 4.3% slide in consumer discretionary and a 4% decline in technology. Other sectors in the red included industrials, financials, communication services and materials.
Still, four sectors rose. The health care sector posted a 2.5% increase, followed by gains of more than 1% each in real estate, utilities and consumer staples.
Next week, the US stock market will have a shortened week, closing Friday in observance of the Christmas holiday. The week’s economic reports will thus be consolidated into the first four days of the week, with the bulk being released Thursday.
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