Stocks were steady after Tuesday’s rally as investors weighed concerns about the omicron variant, while China policies helped buffer against fallout from mounting property debt distress. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA rose 492.4 points to 35,719.43, the S&P 500 index SPX did advance by 95.08 points to close at 4,686.75 while the Nasdaq Composite COMP, jumped 461.76 points to close 15,686.92. The Dow industrials have rallied over 1,100 points in the last two sessions as investors have cheered up and hunted for bargains in the wake of selling after the new omicron variant in South Africa just after Thanksgiving.
Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index was little changed after the biggest jump in more than a year, with healthcare shares outperforming and retail stocks down. U.S. futures ticked up after the biggest surge since March. In other news from Europe, Olaf Scholz was approved by Germany’s parliament to become chancellor and he’ll be sworn in later this Wednesday, ending Angela Merkel’s 16-year tenure. European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said climate and cyber are threats to financial stability in a speech at the fifth annual conference of the ESRB.
Ethiopia has recaptured two strategic towns that provide access to a main trade route, its government said, marking a significant advance by troops loyal to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The prime minister’s office on Twitter on Monday credited the recapture of the towns and four others to troops led by Abiy. With phone lines cut off and internet services down, Bloomberg was not able to independently verify the government’s claims.
U.S. crude oil supply data from the American Petroleum Institute showed a draw of just over 3 million barrels last week, and investors now await crude oil supply data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration later in the day for confirmation. U.S. crude futures traded 0.8% lower at $71.50 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 0.6% to $74.97. Both benchmarks posted gains of just under 5% on Monday and over 3% on Tuesday.