Stocks were largely flat on Thursday as Wall Street wrapped up one of the most volatile years for the market in recent memory.
The Dow Jones Industrials demurred 32.46 points to 30,377.10. Chevron was the biggest decliner in the Dow, falling 0.7%.
The S&P 500 slipped 3.29 points to 3,728.77. The S&P 500 energy sector slipped 0.6%.
The NASDAQ deleted 35.23 points to 12,834.77.
Equities fell sharply in February and March as the COVID pandemic spread outside of China. The S&P 500 suffered its most rapid 30% drawdown on record.
But after bottoming out in late March, and amid unprecedented action by the Federal Reserve to shore up the credit markets, stocks rebounded dramatically and have ripped off a series of record highs before the end of year.
Ahead of the final session of 2020, the tech-heavy NASDAQ has gained 43.4% year to date, while the S&P 500 hiked 15.5% and Dow has risen 6.6%.
To be sure, the major averages jumped to record highs this month, fueled by the rollout of vaccines and a new economic relief package from Congress. For December alone, the S&P 500 is up 3.1%, and NASDAQ improved 5.4%. The Dow is up 2.6% in that time.
Investors digested on Thursday a better-than-expected reading on U.S. weekly jobless claims. The U.S. Labor Department declared the number of first-time unemployment-benefits filers totaled 787,000 for the week ending Dec. 26. Economists polled by Dow Jones were expecting a print of 828,000.
The latest leg higher for the market has been fueled by the rollout of vaccines and a new economic relief package from Congress, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has blocked efforts to increase the amount of direct stimulus payments to $2,000 from $600.
Prices for the 10-Year Treasury were higher, lowering yields to 0.92%, from Wednesday’s 0.94%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices slipped 15 cents to $48.25 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices gained $5.20 to $1,898.60.