US Stocks Higher, Led by Banks, Tech

(AP) -- Stocks were slightly higher Wednesday, sending the S&P 500 slightly above the record closing high it set on Monday.

With three full trading days left in the year, the S&P 500 is on pace to close up more than 27% for 2021. That would be its best performance since 2019, another banner year for the market.

The S&P 500 was up 0.2% as of 10:05 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.3% and the Nasdaq fell 0.1%.

Technology companies were once again lifting the broader market, helped by storage solutions company Western Digital, which was up 6.6%. Seagate Technology and Micron Technology were also up roughly 2%.

Investors have become more comfortable with the omicron variant of the coronavirus in the the last couple of weeks. The quickly spreading virus appears to be less severe and cause less death and hospitalization than other versions of the virus.

Much is still uncertain about omicron, which is spreading extremely quickly and leading to a return to pandemic restrictions in some places. The variant is quickly becoming the dominant strain throughout the world.

While virus-related lockdowns and travel restrictions remain a big concern, most big investors have closed out their positions for 2021 and are likely to hold their ground until next week.

Bond yields were moving higher in the final days of 2021. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was 1.52% compared with 1.48% the day before.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 13 cents to $75.79 a barrel. Oil prices are on pace to end the year up 56%.