The Dow fell 76 points, or about 0.3%, and the S&P 500 fell 0.1%. The Nasdaq rose slightly.
The Dow’s decline followed two consecutive days of gains. The Dow failed to increase three days in a row in December.
The Nasdaq had the best week of the three major indices, up about 4%, as investors increased their appetite — slightly — for risk. Tech stocks performed well overall this week, with the FAANG stocks all rising.
In a quiet week for news, market analysts say extreme volatility has been driven by thin trading volume and stocks hitting technical limits that rapidly drive sentiment from fear to greed and back again.
“As the market continues to worry about a recession, the implications of a trade war with China, and unpredictable and adverse political decision-making from the White House, we are going to continue to see volatility,” said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at Independent Advisor Alliance.
Despite this week’s gains, December has been a miserable month for stocks. This December is the worst for stocks since 1931.
“The rough market has worn on the psyches of investors,” said Scott Wren, senior global equities strategist for Wells Fargo, in a note to clients. “This year turned quickly from meeting our expectations for the S&P 500 to falling well short of those expectations over the course of a few short weeks.”