A trader works on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City, USA, 28 December 2021.
Andrew Kelly | Reuters
Stock futures were flat on the Thursday night before the last trading day of 2021.
Futures linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.02%, while S&P 500 futures rose 0.02% and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.05%.
All three major averages closed in Thursday's regular trading after trading slightly higher during the remainder of the session. The Dow lost about 90 points, or 0.3%, to take a six-day winning streak. The S&P 500 lost 0.3% and fell less than 1% from its record set in the previous session. And the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.2%.
On Thursday, the penultimate trading session of the year, there was little news or economic data to fuel the markets and investors may be looking past the day's moves as all major averages are still on track for both the week and the day also those of the month higher.
“These days are a little less important,” Sylvia Jablonski, chief investment officer at Defiance ETFs, told CNBC's “Closing Bell” on Thursday. "We're at the end of the year, it's a public holiday – liquidity is falling a bit, but we have a strong economy … the market will have many positive sides over the next year."
However, market bull Chris Harvey, head of equity strategy at Wells Fargo Securities, said he was cautious about 2022.
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"We were bullish at the end of the year, we thought there was going to be a collapse, but now it's time to look at the landscape for more sobering thoughts," he told CNBC's Fast Money. "There's this pervasive mentality that the market can bend but not break. We expect a 10% decline in either the second quarter or the start of daylight saving next year."
He added, "We're late in the cycle … we expect multiple compressions, be it from a slowdown in growth, a more aggressive Fed – or maybe we'll see prices spike to a high in the multiples and, of course, the high." Lead margins. So we're much more conservative this year. We want people to think about the risk side of the equation first and then the return side of the equation. "
Cruise ship stocks took a hit Thursday after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Americans avoid cruises whether or not they are vaccinated. Norwegian Cruise Line was down 1.4%.
Other travel stocks rebounded after a week of troubled trading, fueled by various developments in the Omicron variant. Penn National Gaming gained 4.4%. Wynn Resorts rose more than 2%.
Jobless claims for the past week were lower than expected at 198,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists polled by Dow Jones had forecast 205,000.
No economic data is expected on Friday.