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Stock Market Today: Stocks Whisper Their Way Into the Long Weekend

·2 min read
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Thursday's shortened session was a calm, low-volume affair. While certainly unusual for 2020, it was typical for a Christmas Eve.

Also unsurprising was the latest development on the COVID stimulus front: House Republicans shot down a Democrat proposal that would raise the value of forthcoming stimulus checks from $600 per American to $2,000 – a response to President Donald Trump's abrupt dismissal of Congress' bargain bill.

But most analysts aren't deterred: "The stock market believes a stimulus deal of some sort will happen, but the details of what's inside and when it happens have been a low priority for markets for quite some time," says David Bahnsen, chief investment officer of California-based The Bahnsen Group.

Traders on Thursday didn't seem panicked – the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 0.2% to 30,199 ahead of the three-day weekend.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • The S&P 500 advanced by 0.4% to 3,703.

  • The Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.3% to 12,804.

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 slipped from record highs, off 0.2% to 2,003.

stock chart for 122420
stock chart for 122420

The Hottest Bull Market Since World War II, But ...

CFRA chief investment strategist Sam Stovall recently delivered some impressive market data … and a warning from history.

"This bull market celebrated its nine-month (274 calendar-day) anniversary on December 22, with the S&P 500 gaining 64.8% in price. This return was more than twice the average of 32.2% for all bull markets since WWII and ranks it #1 out of 13," he says. However, "following these typical jack rabbit starts, bull market advance rates typically slowed, posting smaller compound annual growth rates during the remainder of their bull-market runs."

We can't tell you whether history will repeat itself – but we can tell you that one of the best ways to get the most of any market condition is to put your money behind Wall Street's best fund managers.

We've recently analyzed the 100 most popular 401(k) funds to find the good, the bad and the ugly from numerous fund families, including Fidelity, T. Rowe Price and American Funds.

We also looked at Vanguard, which, while widely known for its dirt-cheap index products, also boasts several adeptly managed mutual funds. Take a look.