U.S. stocks were mixed Tuesday as the major stock indexes attempted to build on record highs in the final week of the year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 95.83 points, or about 0.3%, to close at 36,398.21 in its fifth straight winning day. The S&P 500 dipped 0.1% to 4,786.35 after reaching a fresh intraday high earlier in the session. The Nasdaq Composite fell nearly 0.6% to 15,781.72.
Investors continued to look to pandemic news for direction with the threat of the omicron variant looming large.
“We’re unwinding some of that knee-jerk and initial reaction for the omicron variant,” said Victoria Fernandez, chief market strategist at Crossmark Global Investments.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday shortened their isolation recommendation for people who test positive to five days from 10, if those people do not have symptoms. Research out of South Africa also indicated that omicron infections can help boost immunity to the earlier delta strain of Covid.
Covid drug makers closed lower amid the omicron developments. Pfizer fell 2% and Moderna retreated 2.2%.
Chip stocks that rallied in the previous session fell Tuesday. Nvidia dipped 2% and Applied Materials pulled back about 1.9%.
On the upside, travel-related stocks hit hard in Monday’s session rebounded Tuesday. Aircraft maker Boeing was one of the Dow’s leaders with a 1.5% gain. American Airlines was among the S&P 500’s top gainers, rising 2%.
The moves come after stocks rallied in Monday’s trading session, with the S&P 500 closing at its 69th record high of the year.
“If the market isn’t beaten down by this new Covid variant, I think it tells you there’s nothing stopping the market from keeping on advancing the rest of the year,” Margaret Patel, Allspring Global Investments senior portfolio manager, told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” on Tuesday.
Stocks historically rise in light trading during the final days of the year, often called the “Santa Claus rally.”
For the year, the S&P 500 is up more than 27% and the Nasdaq is up about 22%. The Dow is the relative laggard, up nearly 19%.