Traders work on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
US stock futures opened on the Sunday evening before the first session of 2021 after a volatile year of trading along the flatline.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell just 37 points, or 0.1%. The futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 fell slightly.
Both the Dow and S&P 500 closed at record highs on Thursday, the last day of trading of 2020, to end a year of surprisingly strong gains.
The 30-stock Dow ended up 7.3% last year and the S&P 500 rose 16.3% during that time. At one point in 2020, the two market benchmarks fell more than 30% as the coronavirus pandemic devastated the global economy.
The real highlight of 2020 was the Nasdaq Composite, which rose 43.6% for its biggest gain since 2009. The outperformance on the Nasdaq was due to investors and traders flocking into technology stocks during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Unprecedented fiscal and monetary support to the economy – along with the development and launch of several Covid-19 vaccines – helped the market recover from its massive decline and return to an all-time high.
“The stock market is positioned for further gains in 2021 based on the two pillars of coordinated fiscal and monetary policies from the US Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Board and a successful introduction of COVID vaccines,” wrote Marc Chaikin, CEO of Chaikin Analytics . “However, we envision some bumps along the way.”
The rollout of several Covid-19 vaccines in the US has recently slowed due to supply shortages.
Moncef Slaoui, the head of Operation Warp Speed, said Sunday the US could accelerate its vaccine rollout by giving half doses of the drug Moderna developed to a group of Americans. “We know that the Moderna vaccine, which gives half the dose to people between the ages of 18 and 55, creates an identical immune response to the 100-microgram dose,” Slaoui said.
Coronavirus cases continue to rise in the US as well, raising concerns about the pace of economic recovery in 2021. Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University showed that more than 20 million Covid-19 infections have been confirmed in the US, as well as over 1.8 million virus-related deaths worldwide. Several cases of a new strain of coronavirus have also been confirmed across the country.
Wall Street is also watching Georgia as the state prepares for a Senate runoff on Tuesday that could give Democrats a majority in the chamber.
“With the Georgia runoff election on Tuesday and the electoral college on Wednesday, expect two-way trading and a pick-up in short-term volatility this week,” added Chaikin.
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