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The Dow posted a 618-point gain, its best point gain in a year, as investors struggled to shake off the omicron-induced jitters.

US stocks had two days of slippage on Thursday, with the Dow industrials posting its best percentage gain since early March, as investors consider the spread of the coronavirus and a dim path. for monetary policy and the US economy.

Wall Street can take some comfort from the report of a second case of the omicron variant from a Minnesota resident visiting New York — reported by Minnesota Department of Public Health—But who only shows mild symptoms.

What’s going on
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average
    DJIA,
    + 1.82%

    rose 617.75 points, or 1.8%, to 34,639.79, marking the best percentage gain since March 5, 2021 and the best point gain since November 9, 2020.

  • S&P 500 Index
    SPX,
    + 1.42%

    rose 1.4%, or 64.06 points, to close at 4,577.10, marking its best day since October 14.

  • Nasdaq Composite Index
    COMP,
    + 0.83%

    modest increase of 0.8%, equivalent to 127.27 points, reaching 15,381.32.

  • Russell 2000
    RUT,
    + 2.74%

    ended the session up 2.7%, or 58.91 points, to reach 2,206.33, a day after marking the first correction since June 2020.

In an extremely volatile session on Wednesday, the Dow closed 1.3%, or 462 points, lower at 34022.04, as the Nasdaq Composite fell 1.8%, or 284 points, to 15.254.05. The S&P 500 fell 1.2% to 4,513.04 and the small-cap Russell 2000
RUT,
+ 2.74%

down 2.3%, or 51 points, to 2,147.42.

What is driving the market?

Stocks hit higher highs for the first time in three sessions but for some bulls the downtrend could linger longer, amid a slide characterized by stomach and knuckle swings empty-handed climb higher.

Investors have been rocked as omicron-inspired shakes have led to the erosion of some uptrend lines for major stock benchmarks, and bears want to see if another shoe will drop on Thursday to help reinforce the downtrend.

Rob Haworth, senior vice president and senior investment strategist at US Bank Wealth Management, wrote in emailed comments to MarketWatch: “The recovery in the market due to incoming news has slowed, with The market is led by cycles and trading recovers.

On Thursday, health officials confirmed another case, a Minnesota resident who recently traveled to New York City for the conference, experienced mild symptoms and later recovered. The new case is likely contaminated with additional omicrons in the New York area.

The hope is that Omicron is more benign than expected, and any outages will be limited in time and scope, wrote UBS strategists.

As expected, President Biden said that the US is ramping up testing for COVID-19 for travelers entering the country and says he plans to expand the mandate to wear masks on planes and other public transport as part of a broad regulatory effort to combat the influx new coronavirus.

Thursday’s trading followed a bad Wednesday that was ended by confirmation of the first US case of omicron variation, sending the S&P 500 below its 50-day moving average for the first time since May 13. ten.

“It appears that the main concern for investors remains the uncertainty surrounding the omicron coronavirus variant and the impact of any new restrictions on the coronavirus,” said Charalambos Pissouros, research lead at JFD Group. with the global economy.

It also comes as Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, for a second day, raised the prospect of a faster rate hike, thereby setting the stage for more and faster rate hikes.

On Thursday, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic said the central bank may have to adjust its bond-buying program “sooner rather than later”, speaking at a Reuters event. Meanwhile, San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly said she doesn’t think the Fed needs to raise rates above the so-called neutral level, estimated at around 2.5%, said at the Peterson Institute. The federal funds rate currently ranges from 0% to 0.25%.

Analysts at Bespoke Investment Group have spotted 17 cases since 1928, including three down at least 1% and one up at least 1%, in the four days before closing below average. 50 days average. The average one-year increase was 16%, although it fell by 40% in 2007 and 23% in 1934.

In economic reports, data released on Thursday showed that Initial unemployment claims increased 28,000 to 222,000 during Thanksgiving week.

Meanwhile, the House of Commons is set to pass an extension of government funding through February 18 in an attempt to avoid a partial shutdown later this week, which some analysts say is adding added some loft for stock.

Ross Mayfield, investment strategy analyst at Baird in Louisville, Ky., says that optimistic investors shouldn’t get too ahead of their skateboards.

“Think, however, that much of the recent weakness is really related to the Fed pivot, with the omicron only providing a more prominent narrative for the sell-off,” wrote analyst Baird MarketWatch in the comments. by email. “Future performance will depend on whether the Fed is more aggressive or brakes hard after resetting market expectations for 2022,” Mayfield said.

Which companies to focus on?
  • Norfolk Southern Corp. NSC said on Thursday that Chief Executive Officer James Squires will retire on May 1, 2022, after approximately seven years in the role. Its shares closed up 3.6%.

  • Kroger Co. KR Shares rose 11% in Thursday trading after the grocer reported third-quarter earnings that beat expectations.

  • Shares of Boeing Co. father rose 7.5% on Thursday, enough to push back early Dow gainers.

  • Dollar General Corp. DG Shares fell 3.3% in Thursday trading after the discount retailer reported a drop in third-quarter profit.

  • Chesapeake Energy Corp. CHK Shares rose 6.8% after the energy producer announced plans to buy back $1 billion worth of common stock and/or share call warrants over the next two years.

  • Shares of Apple Inc.
    AAPL,
    -0.61%

    was a laggard in the Dow as analysts speculated on slowing iPhone shipments due to omicrons. Its shares ended down 0.6%. It was one of seven decliners out of 30 Dow components.

How are other assets performing?

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/dow-futures-swing-higher-as-markets-grapple-with-omicron-and-interest-rate-uncertainty-11638438872?rss=1&siteid=rss The Dow posted a 618-point gain, its best point gain in a year, as investors struggled to shake off the omicron-induced jitters.

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