The market has few doubts now that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates later this month.
But it's not the first hike that's worrying investors. It's what the Fed does next year.
"The next thing in the crosshairs that's going to come up for us early next year is going to be this gradual and measured language that the Fed has been talking about," Tom Siomades, head of Hartford Funds Investment Consulting Group, told TheStreet.
"The market may have a different idea of what the Fed thinks is measured and gradual," he added. "That's going to be the next topic de jure that's going to dominate markets at the beginning of the year."
Wall Street only just became comfortable with the idea of a rate hike after months of reacting poorly to signs the U.S. economy was improving. Acceptance has allowed markets to rally on good economic news without fears over what it might mean for the Fed.
"The rate hike was a foregone conclusion before Thanksgiving so now that that's sort of out of the way the market is able to react to more positive economic news as it organically would," said Siomades.
Stocks surged on Friday after a greater number of jobs were added to U.S. nonfarm payrolls in November. The report was the last key data on the state of the labor market before the Fed meets Dec. 15-16.
The S&P 500 closed up 2% on Friday returning to positive territory for the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2% over the session, while the Nasdaq gained 2.1%.
"The November employment report will easily reassure the Fed that the threshold on the employment side of their mandate to raise rates has been met," BNP Paribas analysts wrote in a note. "The Fed's recent rhetoric suggests that a December rate hike is a done deal while we are looking at a possible bump in the road next year that would force the Fed to pause its every-other meeting rate hike schedule."
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi also boosted stocks after assuring markets the central bank would respond again with further stimulus without delay if the circumstances called for it. Draghi said in a speech on Friday in New York that there was "no doubt" the ECB would introduce more stimulus if needed. Stocks were beaten up on Thursday as investors expressed disappointment the central bank did not boost its current stimulus measures as markets had expected.
It's been a jam-packed week which began with a recordbreaking Cyber Monday. Sales jumped 12% from a year earlier to top out at nearly $3 billion, exceeding expectations and boosting prospects for the holiday shopping season despite a weak performance on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
Terrorism rocked markets on Wednesday afternoon as news broke of a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. that killed fourteen people and injured many more. Two suspects, a married couple, were killed in a resulting shootout and, while no motive has yet been determined, officials are investigating possible connections to the Islamic State.
Fears of domestic and international terrorism have driven unpredictable market trading in recent weeks. A lone gunman attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado only a week ago. Less than three weeks ago, on Nov. 13, three coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris killed 130 people and wounded dozens more.
Crude oil was also a driving force over the past five days. On Friday, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries confirmed that it had revised its oil production ceiling up to 31.5 million barrels a day, above a previous cap of 30 million. OPEC said the revision reflects "current actual" output. The member countries have held production at record highs to maintain market share as crude prices tanked. West Texas Intermediate fell 2.7% to $39.97 a barrel.
The coming week is quieter on the economic calendar after a packed recent schedule. Retail sales and producer prices for November will be released on Friday. The Fed will convene for its two-day meeting the week after.