Wednesday December 8th


Stocks are set to gain for a third day after Pfizer says 3 vaccine doses neutralize omicron

U.S. stock index futures reversed higher and gained for a third day Wednesday after Pfizer and BioNTech said three doses of their vaccine are effective at neutralizing the omicron variant. Dow Jones Industrial average futures gained 54 points, while S&P 500 futures were up 0.1% and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.2%. Stock futures were mostly flat or lower before the Pfizer news. Pfizer and BioNTech cited their own preliminary lab tests, saying the booster dose provides similar protection as two doses did against the older strain. The companies said two doses may still protect against severe disease. On Tuesday, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite posted their best days since March. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 492 points helped by gains in Apple, Salesforce and American Express. The S&P 500 also registered a gain, climbing 2.1%. The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite was the stand-out performer after gaining more than 3%. All 11 sectors were positive on Tuesday, led by tech, which rose 3.5%. Stocks have recovered this week from last week’s market rout on fears of the omicron Covid variant and a possible faster-than-expected taper of the Federal Reserve’s bond buying program. In individual stock news, Apple shares climbed 0.8% despite a report that the iPhone maker is expected to fall 15 million units short of its 230 million-unit goal this year due to supply chain problems. Technology stocks have lead the way, with the Nasdaq up 4% since Monday. The Dow and S&P 500 notched their largest two-day gain since November 2020. JPMorgan’s Chief Global Markets Strategist Marko Kolanovic said Tuesday that investors can trust this rebound in stocks. “When the omicron news hit the tape on Thanksgiving night there was clearly an overreaction,” said Kolanovic, who is also an Institutional Investor Hall of Fame strategist, on CNBC’s “Halftime Report” Tuesday. “Markets sold off very rapidly on news that was not very reliable,” he added. “And now its basically recovering those back.” This week’s gains have put the major averages back within striking distance of their record highs. The Dow is 2.3% from its record and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are 1.2% and 3.2% from their all-time highs, respectively. On Wednesday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release October’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. Economists polled by Dow Jones are expecting there were 10.6 million open positions in October, up from 10.4 million in September. While the majority of S&P 500 companies have reported third-quarter earnings, Campbell Soup, GameStop and Rent the Runway report on Wednesday. Mainland Chinese markets jumped in afternoon trade on Wednesday. Troubled Chinese real estate developers are back in the spotlight, while Chinese social media giant Weibo had a disappointing market debut in Hong Kong. The Shanghai composite climbed 1.18% to close at 3,637.57, while the Shenzhen component rose 1.82% to 14,964.46. The CSI 300 index closed 1.5% higher at 4,995.93, while the Chinext composite bounced by about 1.75% to 3,701.93. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index hovered near the flatline as of the last hour of trade. Japan’s Nikkei 225 bounced 1.42% to close at 28,860.62, and the Topix climbed 0.62% to 2,002.24. South Korea’s Kospi closed 0.34% higher to 3,001.80. Oil prices reversed early losses and traded in the green on Wednesday after Pfizer said three vaccine doses neutralize omicron. Brent crude futures advanced 54 cents, or 0.7%, to $75.98 per barrel, after settling 3.2% higher on Tuesday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was at $72.38 a barrel, for a gain of 33 cents, or 0.46%, having gained 3.7% in the previous session. Gold prices hit a one-week high on Wednesday as the dollar and U.S. Treasury yields slipped, with bullion’s safe-haven appeal also buoyed by tensions surrounding Ukraine, in the run up to U.S. consumer prices data later in the week. Spot gold was up 0.4% to $1,791.40 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures rose 0.5% to $1,793.20 per ounce. Boosting bullion’s appeal, benchmark U.S. Treasury yields and the dollar index retreated. A softer U.S. dollar decreases bullion’s cost for overseas buyers.