Stocks closed out the year on a mostly positive note, adding to the year’s gains as concerns about the economic issues of Omicron infections receded.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.08%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 picked up 0.85%. The Nasdaq Composite index was flat (-0.05%) for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, posted an increase of 0.80%.1,2,3
Stocks Notch Record Highs
The end of the year is historically a strong period for stocks–a seasonal pattern dubbed “The Santa Claus Rally.” This year’s final week of trading did not disappoint as stocks posted healthy gains to kick off the week, despite a global increase in Omicron infections. Investors were buoyed by data that showed fewer associated hospitalizations, which helped ease fears of the variant’s economic impact.
The S&P 500 set multiple fresh record highs, with Wednesday’s new high representing the 70th such high in 2021, while the Dow Industrials recorded its first new record since November. Stocks drifted on low trading volume in the final two trading days of the year, capping a good week, a solid month, and a strong year for investors.4
Robust Holiday Sales
The market got off to a good start last week in part due to a strong holiday sales report. A major credit card issuer reported that consumer holiday spending rose 8.5% from last year’s levels, driven by an 11.0% gain in online sales. It was the biggest annual increase in 17 years. The spending by consumers exceeded pre-pandemic sales by 10.7%. The retail categories that experienced the highest sales increases were apparel (+47.3%) and jewelry (+32.0%).5
It was a particularly robust number in view of investor concerns about supply chain disruptions, port congestion, labor shortages, and wavering consumer confidence.
This Week: Key Economic Data
Tuesday: JOLTS (Job Openings and Turnover Survey). Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).
Thursday: Jobless Claims. Factory Orders. Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Non- Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).
Friday: Employment Situation.
Source: Econoday, December 31, 2021
The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision.
This Week: Companies Reporting Earnings
Thursday: Constellation Brands, Inc. (STZ), Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA), Conagra Brands (CAG).
Source: Zacks, December 31, 2021
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.
Wealth Watch: Ending The Year With a Look At What 2022 Could Bring
HO! HO! HO! The Santa Claus rally appears to have started Monday with a very strong move to the upside. Tuesday pulled back just a little bit, which should be expected with Monday’s big day to the upside. Three more trading days and we should be able to... [READ MORE] 8
This communication is issued by Howard Capital Management, Inc. It is for informational purposes and is not an official confirmation of terms. It is not guaranteed as to accuracy, nor is it a complete statement of the financial products or markets referred to. Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice.
Military Members and Their Families Can Receive Free Tax Advice
The IRS started the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to provide free tax advice, preparation, return filing help, and other assistance to military members and their families. This also includes specific tax advice for military members on topics such as combat zone tax benefits, special extensions, and other special rules. VITA has convenient locations on and off base and even has offices overseas.
These offerings are just one way the IRS is striving to make tax information available to all. It also offers other free assistance programs to taxpayers who qualify, including the elderly, through its Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program.6
* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific, individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.
Indoor Exercises to Stay Active
During the winter, it might be hard to get outside often for walks and exercise, but there are plenty of exercises you can do indoors, even when the weather outside is not cooperating. Here are some simple moves to get you exercising indoors:
- Start with your core. Do 30 crunches followed by a minute-long plank. Repeat for three sets.
- Do two sets of mountain climbers: 60 seconds on, 30 seconds of rest.
- Do push-ups (either on your knees or on your toes), and on your last rep, hold a plank for a minute. Rest for 20 seconds, then repeat three more times.
- Do a standing, reverse lunge, 20 reps on each side. Complete three sets.
- Do regular squats, but hold at the lowest point for three seconds. Complete 20 reps three times.7
Simple Butternut Squash Steaks with Garlic Butter
Time: 20 minutes
- 1 large butternut squash with a long and thick neck – peeled, seeded
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 3 fresh oregano sprigs
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- To make the butternut squash steaks: Cut the neck off of the butternut squash and keep the base for another use. Cut the stem from the end and peel. Cut the butternut squash in four slices lengthwise and trim off the outer rounded sides. You’ll get four butternut squash steaks, about 1/2 inch thick.
- Heat oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Cook the butternut squash steaks, turning every 3 minutes until deeply browned on both sides and fork-tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add butter, oregano, and garlic to skillet, tilt pan toward you so that butter pools on one side, and use a large spoon to continually baste the squash steaks with the butter sauce. Continue cooking, basting continuously, until butter is no longer bubbling and begins to brown, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.
- Remove from the skillet, transfer butternut squash steaks to plates and spoon the garlic butter sauce over. Sprinkle with coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper if you like. Enjoy!9
Footnotes and Sources
1. The Wall Street Journal, December 31, 2021
2. The Wall Street Journal, December 31, 2021
3. The Wall Street Journal, December 31, 2021
4. CNBC, December 29, 2021
5. CNBC, December 27, 2021
6. militaryonesource.mil, June 1, 2021
7. Active, June 24, 2021
8. howardcm.com, December 29, 2021
9. eatwell101.co, September 4, 2021
Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost.
The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions, may not materialize, and are subject to revision without notice.
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG is not affiliated with the named representative, financial professional, Registered Investment Advisor, Broker-Dealer, nor state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and they should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.
Copyright 2022 FMG Suite.
McCarthy Financial Group's Blog: Market Insights & Wealth Watch