Skip to main content

Stocks End Higher as Wall Street Looks Beyond Omicron

Stocks close higher Wednesday as Wall Street shifts away from the omicron variant to focus on Friday's inflation report.

Stocks finished higher Wednesday as Wall Street moved away from concerns about the omicron Covid-19 variant to focus on pending inflation data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 35 points or 0.10%, to 35,754, while the S&P 500 advanced 0.31% and the Nasdaq rose 0.64%.

Good news on the pandemic front came from Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report, which unveiled data indicating that a third dose of its coronavirus vaccine provides solid protection against the newly-identified Omicron variant.

Travel related stocks, like Las Vegas Sands  (LVS) - Get Las Vegas Sands Corp. Report, United Airlines  (UAL) - Get United Airlines Holdings, Inc. Report and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings  (NCLH) - Get Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Report all finished higher. Pfizer, however, finished slightly down.

"The good news is that there was a major 'short squeeze' this week as Wall Street finally concluded that the Covid-19 Omicron variant may be no worse than the flu," said said Louis Navellier, chief investment officer at Navellier & Associates. "Our survey this week revealed that retail investors are not worried, with 96% believing that Omicron will not eliminate the possibility of a year-end rally."

Edward Moya, senior market analyst, the Americas, with Oanda, said stocks "entered wait-and-see mode for Friday’s inflation report that could fuel further Fed rate hike bets." 

"Fed rate hike expectations for next year are between two and three, but that will change after we see the Fed’s latest dot plots next week," he said.

TheStreet Recommends

The U.S. Treasury sold $36 billion in 10-year notes Wednesday at a high auction yield of 1.518% with foreign buyers taking up the majority of the new paper. Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields rose to 1.528%.

Meanwhile, U.S. job openings rose to 11 million in October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary.

"The October JOLTS report showed the labor market is not cooling as the number of job openings jumped to 11.03 million," Moya said. "The quits rate edged lower but standing at 2.8% is still close to series high levels. Worker shortages remain and that should keep the pressure on employers to deliver more wage increases."

Apple  (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report hit a fresh record high and closed up 2.28%. Moya said that Apple shares jumped higher after the Nikkei reported iPhone maker told suppliers to accelerate their output for November, December, and January. 

"It seems Apple will remain a key holding for many investors, especially now that its market cap is closing in on the $3 trillion level," he said. 

In addition, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals paused the enforcement of an injunction against Apple that could have forced the tech giant to allow links and buttons to payment methods outside its App Store, Reuters reported. The order was set to take effect on Wednesday.

Stitch Fix  (SFIX) - Get Stitch Fix, Inc. Class A Report stumbled, falling 24%, after the online shopping and styling company cut its financial outlook amid reduced expectations of active customers using its offerings.