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Stocks Close Higher on Pfizer Covid-19 Treatment Approval, Economic News

Stocks end higher after the FDA granted emergency use approval for Pfizer's breakthrough Covid pill treatment.
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Stocks finished higher Wednesday, bolstered by emergency approval for Pfizer's  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report Covid-19 pill and upbeat economic reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 261 points, or 0.74%, to 35,753, while the S&P 500 advanced 1.02% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 1.18%.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use approval for Pfizer's Covid-19 treatment pill, the first of its kind to receive clearance in the United States. 

The pill has also also shown to be effective against the newly-identified omicron variant, which dominated market sentiments. 

Infections have doubled every one and a half to three days, according to the World Health Organization, and countries have instituted business and travel restrictions in order to tame its advance.

However, data from South Africa suggest hospitalizations linked to omicron are far less likely than with Delta.

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Americans are feeling better about the economy during the last stretches of the holiday season, as The Conference Board reported that consumer confidence rose to 115.8 in December from a revised 111.9 in November.

In addition, Edward Moya, senior market analyst for the Americas with Oanda, noted that the final reading of third quarter GDP saw upside revisions across the board, with the headline revised higher from 2.1% to 2.3%. 

"Personal consumption improved from the preliminary 1.7% reading to 2.0%, while pricing readings edged higher," he said. "This data was old but did confirm the narrative of growth remaining strong and pricing pressures still are approaching their peak."

In company news, Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report shares rose 7.5% after its founder and CEO Elon Musk declared that he has ''sold enough stock'' in the clean energy car company following a pledge to offload around 10% of his holdings.

Caterpillar  (CAT) - Get Caterpillar Inc. Report shares climbed nearly 2% after Bernstein analyst Chad Dillard upgraded the industrial equipment maker to outperform from market perform and boosted his price target to $240 from $200.