5 things to know before the stock market opens Monday

5 things to know before the stock market opens Monday

On Monday, stock futures went up as investors head into a quiet final week of the year, with lower trading volumes and light economic data and corporate earnings releases.

The contracts on all three major indexes were in the green ahead of the trading session but went up only slightly after last week s rally heading into the Christmas weekend.

The S&P 500 closed at a new record on Thursday, together with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq, buoyed by positive data that suggested the Omicron variant was less likely to lead to hospitalizations. The indexes bounced back losses after recent volatility as the market assessed the impact of the virus on the economy.

Investors will tune in to see whether Thursday s gains sustain momentum for a year-end Santa Claus Rally - one in which stocks climb higher in the last seven trading sessions of the year, plus the first two trading days of the new year.

The S&P 500 gained 77% of the time during the year-end rally during the past 92 years, according to data from Sundial Capital Research. The average gain in the nine-day period was 2.66%.

The market will focus on several key considerations as well as measures the Federal Reserve could take in response to the outbreak and rising inflationary pressures as well as measures that the market might take into account in the coming years of the pandemic.

APAC CEO at Qraft Technologies Francis Oh told Yahoo Finance that inflation and Omicron are the two most important catalysts for the stock market right now. I think the market will be cautiously moving off because of the fact that those catalysts are priced in through market volatility. Merck MRK received authorization last week from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its at-home COVID 19 drug, just one day after Pfizer PFE was approved for use of its own treatment.

In a clinical trial, Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics developed a drug called molnupiravir, which has been shown to reduce hospitalizations and deaths by around 30%. Pfizer's pill was reported to be 90% effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk patients.

A significant mutation of the virus is one of the ways that pandemics end. Omicron may be our friend in that regard, significant mutations that are different from the parent that don't make people sick, True Health Initiative President Dr. David Katz told Yahoo Finance Live.

The investors processed a trove of economic releases ahead of the holiday weekend.

The labor department reported that initial jobless claims totaled 205,000, a downward trend from the highs of their Pandemic peak and reflecting labor market tightness brought on by demand for workers heading into the new year. The latest print brings the four week moving average for new claims to its lowest in 52 years, with a gain of 2,750 week-over-week to reach 206,250.

U.S consumer prices grew at the fastest rate in nearly four decades, as shoppers confront rising inflation levels ahead of the holidays.

The Girard chief investment officer Timothy Chubb told Yahoo Finance that workers have a lot of power, and that is likely to result in continued wage gains. What concerns us from an inflation standpoint is that some of those inflation risks could be used to hand the baton to the labor market? In November sales of new U.S. homes jumped 12.4% to a seven-month high of 744,000, buoyed by low mortgage rates and higher demand in the housing industry.

In November, US durable goods orders increased by 2.5%, up from the previous month, boosted by a rise in aircraft orders.

Anik Sen, PineBridge Investments global head of equity, told Yahoo Finance Live that this is definitely a buy the dip kind of market because we expect more earnings upgrades to come. We think that the real debate should be about the length and strength of the economic cycle ahead. After Christmas weekend, futures will be higher at 7: 10 a.m. Monday ET: