We hope all of our readers and your families have a happy and safe New Year’s holiday and we wish you all the best for 2022.
The last day of trading for 2021 finds US index futures all down about 0.2%, adding to yesterday’s major US index declines of 0.1%-0.3%. In overseas trading, the Hang Seng jumped 1.25% and the Dax added 0.2%, while the Nikkei fell 0.4% and the FTSE is down 0.3%. Commodities are also mixed with WTI crude oil falling nearly 2.0% trading near $75.00/bbl, while copper is up 0.6%. Gold is up 0.3% while Bitcoin is up 1.25%.
Generally speaking, 2021 has been a choppy year for markets. Although some US indices soared to new all-time highs, gains were concentrated mainly in a small group of large cap stocks. Year to date the big cap S&P 100 is up 28.0%, more than double the 13.5% year to date gain for the small cap Russell 2000.
Sector action was very mixed, particularly through the middle part of the year which saw a series of rolling takedowns and rebounds. Of the eleven main industry groups, Energy was the strongest with a 55.7% gain while Consumer Staples were the weakest, climbing only 9.4%. Interestingly Canada’s S&P/TSX Composite Index which is more sensitive to the Energy and Financials sectors, and the NASDAQ Composite Index, which is more sensitive to the Technology and Communications sectors, are both up approximately the same year to date, 22.1%.
Economic news picks up right away in the near year with Manufacturing PMI reports from overseas due on Monday. Early PMI numbers have been mixed. The US Chicago PMI report beat expectations (63.1 vs street 62.0 and previous 61.8), as did the Chinese Manufacturing PMI report (50.3 vs street 50.1), but the Chinese Service PMI number missed slightly (52.7 vs street 53.1).