By Scott Kanowsky
Investing.com — U.S. markets edged lower in the last session of 2022, as stocks looked set to slip to their worst year in almost a decade and a half.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 260 points, or 0.78%, to 32,960.53 as of 09:56 ET (14:57 GMT), while the S&P 500 fell 34 points, or 0.89%, to 3,815.20 and the tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite decreased by 115 points, or 1.10%, to 10,363.32.
Friday’s trading will bring an end to a difficult year for stocks, which have been hit by several headwinds including persistently high inflation and aggressive Federal Reserve interest rate hikes. All three of the major indices are now on course for their biggest annual declines since 2008 – an event that would also break a three-year streak of annual gains.
The Dow has managed to eke out a marginally better performance than the other indices. It is on course to slide by just under 9% in 2022, while the S&P 500 is down nearly 20% over the past one-year period. The NASDAQ is lower by more than 33%, reflecting a recent period of sharp declines for technology stocks reeling from the increases in borrowing costs and supply chain woes.
The NASDAQ is also on pace for its fourth negative quarter in a row. However, the Dow and S&P 500 are on track to bring three straight quarters of declines to an end.
In individual equities, Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) is one of the stand-out performers, jumping into the green following a statement from the U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg that said the Biden administration will hold the carrier “accountable” if it fails to fulfill commitments to customers for “controllable delays and cancellations.” The airline expects to run a normal flight schedule Friday after thousands of cancellations this week.
Kala Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:KALA) also surged by more than 28% after the FDA accepted the company’s application to develop a new drug that targets an eye disease known as “persistent corneal epithelial defect.”
Meanwhile, shares in Futu Holdings Ltd (NASDAQ:FUTU) shed nearly a quarter of their value after China’s securities regulator banned the online brokerage from opening new accounts with investors on the Chinese mainland. Officials claimed Tencent-backed Futu had unlawfully conducted cross-border securities businesses without regulatory consent.
The schedule for economic data was light on Friday, but is set to pick up slightly next week with the release of the most recent non-farm payrolls report on January 6. Financial markets will be closed on Monday to observe the New Year’s Day holiday.