Wednesday December 22nd


Dow futures are flat following 500-point rebound

U.S. stock index futures were mostly flat Wednesday morning a day after the major averages rebounded from a three-day losing streak spurred by fears about the omicron Covid variant. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were trading near the flatline. S&P 500 futures dipped 0.1% and Nasdaq-100 futures fell 0.3%. Caterpillar rose 1% in premarket trading after Bernstein upgraded the stock, saying the machinery maker will be a key beneficiary of a rebound in global growth. Tesla shares gained 2% in premarket trading after Elon Musk said in a podcast that he had reached his goal of selling 10% his shares for tax reasons. All three of the major averages jumped on Tuesday in a relief rally following days of weakness on omicron fears. The Dow added 560 points, or 1.6%. The S&P 500 rose 1.8% and the Nasdaq Composite gained 2.4%. The S&P 500 snapped a three-day losing streak that saw the benchmark lose more than 3%, its worst loss during similar time periods since September. The Nasdaq tumbled nearly 4% in the three days through Monday, its worst such stretch since May. Travel-related stocks popped on Tuesday as investors put Covid-related fears aside and bought the dip. Delta Air Lines rose 5.9%, United Airlines gained 6.9% and Carnival added 8.7%. Those stocks were slightly higher again in Wednesday premarket trading. President Joe Biden in a press conference Tuesday urged Americans to get their booster shots, saying those who have are “highly protected.” He also reiterated that the U.S. will not bring back the strict lockdowns that were imposed at the start of the pandemic. Earlier Tuesday, Biden said his administration will deploy 1,000 medical personnel from the military to back up hospitals facing a surge of Covid patients and that it will purchase 500 million at-home Covid tests that will be free to Americans through a website starting next year. With the delta variant, “the economy was able to sustain better than most expected,” said Keith Buchanan, portfolio manager at Globalt Investments. “A lot of people will say that the economy held up because there was more monetary stimulus. Coming into Omicron, that’s not necessarily the case as much as it was in Delta and this is another test of a different flavor. It’s testing if the economy and the market can hold up given the much less accommodative fiscal and monetary policy.” Investors are looking forward to economic data being released Wednesday morning, including new home purchases, existing home sales, GDP and consumer confidence numbers. Shares in Asia-Pacific were mostly higher in Wednesday trade as investors continued to assess the impact of the omicron Covid variant. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.34% as of its final hour of trading, paring earlier gains of more than 1%. Mainland Chinese stocks closed mixed, with the Shanghai composite slipping slightly to 3,622.62 and the Shenzhen component advancing 0.697% to 14,791.33. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.16% higher at 28,562.21 while the Topix index climbed nearly 0.1% to 1,971.51. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.32%, finishing the trading day at 2,984.48. Oil prices rose again on Wednesday as the dollar slipped, with risk appetite returning as some governments resist imposing lockdowns to curb the spread of the omicron Covid-19 variant and as China said it would be able to sustain economic growth. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 33 cents, or 0.5%, to $71.46 per barrel, after jumping 3.7% on Tuesday. Brent crude futures rose 16 cents, or 0.2%, to $74.14 a barrel after gaining 3.4% on Tuesday. Gold traded within a tight range on Wednesday as higher U.S. Treasury yields and improved risk appetite countered concerns about the rapidly spreading omicron coronavirus variant. Spot gold was little changed at $1,789.12 per ounce by 0126 GMT. U.S. gold futures also remained unchanged, at $1,789.50.