© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Traders wearing face masks work in the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in Manhattan, New York, U.S. December 20, 2021 REUTERS / Andrew Kelly
By Lewis Krauskopf, Medha Singh and Bansari Mayur Kamdar
(Reuters) – Major Wall Street indices rose solidly for a third straight session Thursday after more encouraging developments on the impact of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, improving the mood ahead of the Christmas holidays.
Price was near its intraday high as most sectors advanced. Industrials and Consumer Discretionary were the best performing sectors, both up about 1.3%.
Vaccine makers AstraZeneca (NASDAQ 🙂 Plc and Novavax (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc said its shots were safe from Omicron, as UK data suggested it could cause proportionally fewer hospital cases than the Delta variant, although public health experts have warned that the battle against COVID- 19 was far from over.
The arrival of Omicron has helped increase market volatility for much of the final month of 2021, which has been a strong year for stocks.
“There was a lot of negative sentiment in the latter part of the year, and investors likely continued to see pretty strong economic growth and some pretty positive developments in healthcare innovation around COVID. and that makes an offer. into equities and encouraging investors to look to allocate capital at year end, ”said Matthew Miskin, co-chief investment strategist at John Hancock Investment Management.
The S&P 500 gained 223.25 points, or 0.62%, to 35,977.14, the S&P 500 gained 34.28 points, or 0.73%, to 4,730.84 and the addition of 154, 23 points, or 0.99%, at 15,676.12.
Defensive sectors, which mostly outperformed in December, lagged on Thursday, with real estate down 0.9%.
Trading volumes were expected to be lower than usual before the Christmas and New Year holidays. The exchange will be closed on Friday for the Christmas holidays.
In another medical development against the pandemic, the United States cleared Merck & Co’s antiviral pill for COVID-19 for certain high-risk adult patients, a day after giving a broader green light to similar treatment but more effective of Pfizer Inc. (NYSE 🙂 Shares of Merck slipped 0.4%, while shares of Pfizer fell 2%.
“Last holiday season there was an even spike in cases, but now we have so many more weapons in our arsenal to tackle COVID-19 and it’s a very different perspective,” said Christopher Grisanti, Chief Equity Strategist at MAI Capital Management in New York.
The number of Americans filing new jobless claims has remained below pre-pandemic levels last week as the labor market tightens, while consumer spending has risen sharply, putting the economy on track to finish strong until 2021.
Tesla (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc shares rose 5.5%, gaining sharply for a second day after chief executive Elon Musk said on Wednesday he had “almost completed” stock sales after selling more $ 15 billion since early November.
The S&P 500 is up around 26% year-to-date. Nonetheless, the environment for equities could change by next year, as the Federal Reserve is expected to start raising interest rates in 2022.
Rising issues outnumbered falling on the NYSE by a 2.81 to 1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, a ratio of 2.47 to 1 favored the advances.
The S&P 500 posted 34 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 54 new highs and 70 new lows.