Volume was by far the lightest for a full day of trading this year and breath was very mixed, but we had typical window-dressing action. Big caps like ISRG, GOOG, AAPL and CMG were walked up on low volume, but tax-loss selling pushed down many of the names that have been lagging this year.
Stocks are not trading much on their individual merits right now. The main driving force is squaring things up and being ready for the start of next year. If there is an opportunity to produce a little relative performance with a high beta big-cap, they will give it a go, but with a finger on the eject button.
It's typical to see at least one very aggressive bout of selling in the waning days of the year. Some folks come to conclude that it is better to lock in profits and pay taxes than defer them to next year and risk a pullback.