U.S. stocks fell Thursday ahead of the final trading day of 2021.
The Dow Jones Industrials subsided 90.16 points to 36,398.49.
The much-broader S&P 500 index subtracted 14.33 points to 4,778.73
The NASDAQ dropped 24.65 points at 15,741.56.
Thursday’s was the second-last trading session of 2021. The end of the year is a historically strong period for stocks, which has been dubbed the “Santa Claus rally.”
Biogen slid roughly 8% on Thursday after Samsung denied a report in The Korea Economic Daily that it was in talks to buy Biogen. The stock led decliners on the S&P 500 and NASDAQ. Biogen shares had surged 9.5% on Wednesday on the report.
Weak performance from semiconductor stocks weighed on the S&P 500 and NASDAQ. Micron Technology fell 2.4% and AMD dipped 2.1%. On Wednesday, Micron warned COVID closures in China are impacting the company’s production output.
Cruise line stocks took a hit after the CDC recommended Americans avoid cruise travel regardless of vaccination status. Norwegian Cruise Line retreated 2.6% and Carnival lost 1.3%.
Some travel-related stocks rebounded Thursday after seesawing in trading this week as investors monitor developments with the omicron COVID variant. Penn National Gaming gained 4.5% and led the S&P 500.
On the data front, jobless claims last week came in lower than expected, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday. Initial claims totaled 198,000 for the week ended Dec. 25, while economists surveyed by Dow Jones projected 205,000.
Prices for 10-year Treasurys regained lost strength, lowering yields to 1.51% from Wednesday’s 1.56%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices handed back one cent to $76.55 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices picked up $11.90 to $1,817.70 U.S. an ounce.