Stock futures climb after strong economic data helps allay Omicron concerns


The S&P 500 closed at a record high Thursday in a pre-holiday rally with the Dow and Nasdaq, supported by positive data suggesting the Omicron variant was less likely to lead to hospitalizations. The indices recouped losses from the start of the week after investors shrugged off fears that the variant would delay the economic recovery.

The S&P closed at a record 4,725.72, while the Dow Jones ended the week just under 36,000. The Nasdaq Composite also closed 130 points higher, or 0.85%.

“One of the ways that pandemics end is a significant mutation in the virus. It seems Omicron is our friend in this regard, significant mutations different enough from parenting that they don’t make people so sick, ”True Health Initiative president Dr. David Katz told Yahoo Finance Live.

In other positive news on the COVID-19 front, Merck (MRK) received clearance from the United States Food and Drug Administration for its COVID-19 at-home drug, just a day after Pfizer (PFE) also been approved for its own use. processing.

The pill developed by Merck in collaboration with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, called molnupiravir, has been shown to reduce hospitalizations and deaths by about 30% in clinical trial data. Pfizer’s pill has been reported to be 90% effective in preventing hospitalizations and death in high-risk patients.

Shares of Merck closed down 0.54% early in trading at $ 75.75 apiece, while Pfizer shares closed at $ 58.66 per share, down 1.49%.

Investors weighed in a mine of economic publications ahead of the holiday weekend.

The Ministry of Labor reported that the first unemployment claims totaled 205,000, supporting a downtrend from the peaks of their pandemic peak and reflecting labor market tension brought on by demand for workers as the new year approaches. The latest impression brings the four-week moving average of new claims to its lowest level in 52 years, rising 2,750 week-over-week to 206,250.

Meanwhile, consumer prices in the United States have accelerated at the fastest rate in nearly four decades as shoppers face rising levels of inflation ahead of the holidays.

“Workers have a lot of power, and that will likely lead to continued wage increases,” Girard chief investment officer Timothy Chubb told Yahoo Finance. “What worries us from an inflation point of view is when do we potentially see some of these inflation risks shifting to the job market? “

Meanwhile, US new home sales in November jumped 12.4% to a seven-month high of 744,000, supported by low mortgage rates and higher demand in the housing sector.

Durable goods orders in the United States rose 2.5% in November, up from the previous month, boosted by a sharp increase in aircraft orders.

During Wednesday’s trading session, investors weighed an optimistic impression on consumer confidence levels and the release of a revised upward estimate of national GDP, putting the top three averages in the green after a mixed opening .

The Conference Board reported that consumer confidence rose by a larger-than-expected margin in December, with an overall index at 115.8 for the month and above Bloomberg’s consensus estimate of 111.0. In November, the index had a reading of 111.9, revised from an initial report of 109.5. Meanwhile, the country’s gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 2.3% in the third quarter in the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s final estimate after the initial report of 2.1%.

“We said it was definitely a down market buy as we expect further earnings improvements,” Anik Sen, global head of equities for PineBridge Investments told Yahoo Finance Live. “We believe the real debate should be about the length and strength of the business cycle ahead.”

Thursday’s market gains could mark the start of the year-end Santa Claus rally, in which stocks climb higher in the last seven trading days of the year, as well as the first two days of trading. new year scholarship. As of today, traders are looking to see if nearly a century of data will hold up.

For unclear reasons, over the past 92 years, the S&P 500 has gained 77% of the time during the year-end rally period, according to data from Sundial Capital Research. The average gain during this nine-day trading period reached 2.66%.

4 p.m. ET: S&P 500 closes at record high

Here are the main movements of the closing of the markets before the Christmas weekend:

  • S&P 500 (^ GSPC): +29.16 (+ 0.62%) to 4,725.72

  • Dow (^ DJI): +196.57 (+ 0.55%) to 35,950.46

  • Nasdaq (^ IXIC): +131.48 (+ 0.85%) to 15,653.37

  • Raw (CL = F): + $ 1.13 (+ 1.55%) to $ 73.89 per barrel

  • Gold (CG = F): + $ 7.90 (+ 0.44%) to $ 1,810.10 per ounce

  • 10-year cash flow (^ TNX): +3.6 bps for a yield of 1.4930%

12:32 p.m. ET: S&P 500 hits new high

Here are the main movements during intraday trading:

  • S&P 500 (^ GSPC): +32.83 (+ 0.70%) to 4,729.39

  • Dow (^ DJI): +230.23 (+ 0.64%) to 35,984.12

  • Nasdaq (^ IXIC): +128.35 (+ 0.83%) to 15,650.25

  • Raw (CL = F): + $ 0.92 (+ 1.26%) to $ 73.68 per barrel

  • Gold (CG = F): + $ 6.80 (+ 0.38%) to $ 1,809.00 per ounce

  • 10-year cash flow (^ TNX): +3.6 bps for a yield of 1.4930%

10:21 a.m. ET: New home sales at their highest since April

US new home sales in November jumped 12.4% to a seven-month high. The Census Bureau reported that new home sales rose 82,000 last month from October to 744,000, supported by low mortgage rates and higher demand in the housing sector.

The forecasts ranged from 737,000 to 85,000 out of 51 estimates, with a median of 770,000, according to Bloomberg data.

The median sale price of a new home sold in November was $ 416,900, up 14.1% from a year ago.

9:30 a.m. ET: Markets open higher after economic releases

Here are the main movements on the markets at the opening Thursday morning:

  • S&P 500 (^ GSPC): + 10.69 (+ 0.23%) to 4,707.25

  • Dow (^ DJI): +102.67 (+ 0.29%) to 35,856.56

  • Nasdaq (^ IXIC): +180.81 (+ 1.18%) to 15,521.89

  • Raw (CL = F): + $ 0.12 (+ 0.16%) to $ 72.88 per barrel

  • Gold (CG = F): + $ 5.30 (+ 0.29%) to $ 1,807.50 per ounce

  • 10-year cash flow (^ TNX): +0.5 bps for a yield of 1.4620%

9:07 a.m. ET: Consumer prices accelerate, while spending slows

Consumer prices in the United States have accelerated at the fastest rate in nearly four decades. The Commerce Department reported a 5.7% increase over the past 12 months, reflecting the fastest gain in 39 years as buyers face rising levels of inflation ahead of the holidays.

Meanwhile, personal spending rose 0.6% in November, a slowdown from last month’s print of 1.4%. The figure, which accounts for 70% of economic activity, comes amid the latest wave of COVID-19 cases, hinting at the possibility of a wider economic downturn.

Personal income rose 0.4% in November, down slightly from the 0.5% increase in October.

8:42 a.m. ET: Durable goods orders exceed expectations

Durable goods orders in the United States rose 2.5% in November, up from the previous month, boosted by a sharp increase in aircraft orders.

Orders for basic capital goods, a measure of business investment in equipment that excludes planes and military equipment, fell 0.1% after a revised upward 0.9% increase in October , according to Bloomberg.

Bloomberg’s median estimates predicted a 0.7% increase in orders for basic capital goods and a 1.8% increase in total durable goods bookings.

8:30 a.m. ET: First-time jobless claims remain at pre-pandemic levels

Initial jobless claims have remained at pre-pandemic lows, maintaining a downward trend from their coronavirus peak highs and reflecting the tightening labor market brought on by demand for workers as the New Year approaches.

The Labor Department said Thursday that initial new jobless claims stood at 205,000 for the week ending Dec. 18, which matches consensus estimates. The latest impression brings the four-week moving average of new claims to its lowest level in 52 years, rising 2,750 week-over-week to 206,250.

“The direction of the labor market recovery remains positive, with demand still strong,” wrote Rubeela Farooqi, chief economist for High Frequency Economics, in a note. “Labor shortages persist, preventing a stronger recovery, although they appeared to ease somewhat in November.”

7:00 a.m. ET: Dow, S&P and Nasdaq contracts on the rise ahead of open

Here’s how the markets moved at the start of Thursday’s session:

  • S&P 500 in the long term (ES = F): +13.75 points (+ 0.29%), at 4,699.75

  • Dow Futures (YM = F): +107.00 points (+ 0.30%), at 35,739.00

  • Futures contracts on the Nasdaq (NQ = F): +34.75 points (+ 0.21%) at 16,204.50

  • Raw (CL = F): + $ 0.20 (+ 0.27%) to $ 72.96 per barrel

  • Gold (CG = F): + $ 5.20 (+ 0.29%) to $ 1,807.40 per ounce

  • 10-year cash flow (^ TNX): +0.08 bps for a yield of% 130.66

6:01 p.m. ET Wednesday: Stock futures are stable ahead of overnight trading

Here is how the markets were evolving at the end of the session on Wednesday:

  • S&P 500 in the long term (ES = F): +4.00 points (+ 0.09%), at 4,690.00

  • Dow Futures (YM = F): +19.00 points (+ 0.05%), at 35,651.00

  • Futures contracts on the Nasdaq (NQ = F): +11.05 points (+ 0.07%) at 16,181.25

  • Raw (CL = F): + $ 0.30 (+ 0.41%) at $ 73.06 per barrel

  • Gold (CG = F): + $ 3.00 (+ 0.17%) to $ 1,805.20 per ounce

  • 10-year cash flow (^ TNX): +0.06 bps for a yield of% 161.4375

Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on twitter @alexandraandnyc

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