At the close, the Dow Jones industrials were up 0.3%. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.6%, leading to the downside, while the S&P 500 was down around 0.1%. Meanwhile, the Russell 2000 also slid 0.6%. Early data showed volume was running lower on the Nasdaq and the NYSE vs. the close on Monday.
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.
The major indexes paused Tuesday after last week’s rally, which spilled over into Monday’s session. Defensive sectors such as utilities led the upside on Tuesday.
Materials stocks also outperformed. On the downside, technology and health care fell. The Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) fell the most with a 0.5% loss.
December was a volatile month for investors who weighed the strain’s impact on the economy, but recent developments that indicate Omicron may cause milder disease helped markets shake off earlier concerns.
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%.
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, All spring 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%.
Crude oil futures edged lower. U.S. crude stockpiles fell by 3.1 million barrels in the latest week, according to the American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday. The Energy Information Administration will release official crude and refined products stockpiles and production data Wednesday morning.
The 10-year Treasury yield was flat at 1.48%, continuing to trade around its 200-day line. U.S. crude oil prices rose 0.5% to $75.98 a barrel, off intraday highs but extending a winning streak to five sessions.