Stock Market Today

Stock Market Today: Stocks Notch Second Straight Day of Gains

A solid reading from the Conference Board on consumer confidence lifted the collective mood on Wall Street.

Stocks got off to a slow start Wednesday but rose steadily throughout the session to close higher for a second consecutive day.

Lifting Wall Street's collective mood was a report from the Conference Board that showed consumer confidence – a gauge of how much Americans are willing to spend on goods and services – rose to 115.9 in December from November's reading at 111.9.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said existing U.S. home sales jumped 1.9% month-over-month in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.46 million units. Although the reading came in below the 2.5% increase expected by economists, it still puts existing home sales on track for their hottest year since 2006, according to NAR.

Sign up for Kiplinger's FREE Investing Weekly e-letter for stock, ETF and mutual fund recommendations, and other investing advice.

Adding to the bullish buzz was news the Food and Drug Administration issued emergency use authorization for Paxlovid, Pfizer's (PFE, +1.0%) pill to treat COVID-19, for high-risk patients 12 and over. Reports from South Africa – where the omicron variant was first detected – showing a 20% reduction in case counts from last week's peak also aided sentiment.

At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.7% at 35,753, the S&P 500 Index was 1.0% higher at 4,696 and the Nasdaq Composite had gained 1.2% to 15,521.

stock price chart 122221

YCharts

Other news in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 rose 0.9% to 2,221.
  • U.S. crude oil futures gained 2.3% to settle at $72.76 per barrel.
  • Gold futures edged up 0.8% to finish at $1,802.20 an ounce.
  • Bitcoin added 0.8% to $48,982.25. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m.) 
  • Tesla (TSLA) stock jumped 7.5% after CEO Elon Musk said in a podcast interview with satirical website Babylon Bee that he sold "enough stock" to meet his plan to unload 10% of his ownership stake. In early November, Musk initiated a Twitter poll asking if he should sell 10% of his total holdings in Tesla. However, the sale of the shares may have already been in the cards, as the CEO had planned on exercising options granted to him as an insider, according to a mid-September Securities and Exchange Commissions (SEC) filing. From its Nov. 4 peak above $1,243 through yesterday's close at $899.94, TSLA stock shed nearly 28%.  
  • Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants (DRI, +1.6%) was upgraded to Buy from Hold by Stifel analyst Chris O'Cull. "Shares declined following a strong earnings report last Friday, which we believe was driven by the concurrent announcement of CEO Gene Lee's retirement at the end of May," O'Cull wrote in a note. While he said he wasn't surprised by the reaction, he feels Lee's successor, Rick Cardenas, will continue to guide the company on a path of strategic growth. The analyst also acknowledged that "variant-related sales disruptions are a near-term risk," but believes the shares are trading at "an attractive entry point for a high-quality company."

Sure, There Will Be Risks in 2022, But Also Opportunities

If there's one thing the last two years have taught us, it's to be prepared.

"As we close out 2021, the world looks both different from a year ago and very much the same," says Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for independent broker-dealer Commonwealth Financial Network.

In addition to another wave of COVID-19 underway, rising inflation, supply-chain issues and a challenged global economic recovery create plenty of uncertainty for investors. "Indeed, these risks are still very real," adds McMillan. "But so are the opportunities – and 2022 is likely to see even further improvement from 2021."

The best way for investors to take advantage of these opportunities is to arm themselves with the best investments. You can find plenty of potential in our best stocks for 2022, as well as in our Kiplinger's Investing Outlook.

But stocks aren't the only way to prepare your portfolio for the new year, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are investing's Swiss Army knife. Whether you're looking to build a portfolio core, add defensive positions or even protect against market drops, our list of the 22 best ETFs for 2022 likely has something for you. Take a look.

Most Popular

Your Guide to Roth Conversions
Special Report
Tax Breaks

Your Guide to Roth Conversions

A Kiplinger Special Report
February 25, 2021
The 12 Best Tech Stocks to Buy for 2022
tech stocks

The 12 Best Tech Stocks to Buy for 2022

The best tech-sector picks for the year to come include plays on some of the most exciting emergent technologies, as well as several old-guard mega-ca…
January 3, 2022
How to Know When You Can Retire
retirement

How to Know When You Can Retire

You’ve scrimped and saved, but are you really ready to retire? Here are some helpful calculations that could help you decide whether you can actually …
January 5, 2022

Recommended

Stock Market Today (1/21/22): Nasdaq Sinks Again, Ends Worst Week Since 2020
Stock Market Today

Stock Market Today (1/21/22): Nasdaq Sinks Again, Ends Worst Week Since 2020

A negative earnings reaction for Netflix (NFLX) and options expiration sparked a volatile session for stocks.
January 21, 2022
Kiplinger's Weekly Earnings Calendar
stocks

Kiplinger's Weekly Earnings Calendar

Check out our earnings calendar for the upcoming week, as well as our previews of the more noteworthy reports.
January 21, 2022
Stock Market Today (1/20/22): Foiled Again! Sizable Snap-Back Fizzles Late
Stock Market Today

Stock Market Today (1/20/22): Foiled Again! Sizable Snap-Back Fizzles Late

The Nasdaq fell even further into correction territory Thursday after early gains collapsed in the afternoon.
January 20, 2022
The 10 Best European Stocks for 2022 and Beyond
stocks

The 10 Best European Stocks for 2022 and Beyond

A recent pullback in the global equities market has opened the door for investors to buy some of the top dividend-paying European stocks at a discount…
January 20, 2022