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Stocks Rebound; Nike And Micron Impress, Biden Preps Omicron Response -Five Things You Must Know

Stock futures bounce higher as investors adopt optimistic take on Omicron; President Biden set to unveil response to variant surge, boost testing access; Micron tops earnings, sees solid chip sector outlook; Nike beats the Street with U.S. sales surge and Senator Joe Manchin hints at potential support for a slimmer version of Build Back Better.

Here are five things you must know for Tuesday, December 21:

1. -- Stock Futures Bounce Higher on Omicron Optimism 

U.S. equity futures bumped higher Tuesday, following their worst three-day performance since September, as investors grapple with fading holiday liquidity amid ongoing uncertainty over the impact of the Omicron surge and lingering interest rate concerns. 

Growth assets were in focus in overnight trading, however, as early data showing the rapid increase of Omicron infections -- now the dominant strain in the United States -- is paired with relatively mild symptoms and hospitalization rates, suggesting a potentially limited impact on the global economy in the months ahead. 

Tech stocks and oil prices bounced higher, while Treasury bond yields advanced and the dollar index eased from multi-week highs in a series of overnight asset price move that typically precedes a solid day on Wall Street,

To that point, futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average are indicating a 240 point opening bell advance, while those linked to the S&P 500 are priced for a 32 point gain.

The Nasdaq Composite is also looking positive, with futures indicating a 125 point opening bell bump after the tech-focused benchmark closed 7.6% south of its all-time high last night. 

2. -- President Biden to Outline Omicron Response, Boost Testing Access 

President Joe Biden is preparing to distribute around 500 million Covid testing kits, while expanding testing sites in major cities, as part of his administration's expanded effort to slow the acceleration of Omicron infections in the world's largest economy.

In a televised address later today, President Biden will outline plans that include mobilizing military medical personnel to support hospitals around the country, the opening of several Federally-run testing sites, and the purchase of 500 million testing kits that will be available online starting for families to order as of next month.

Omicron, which was only identified late last month, now accounts for more than 73% of U.S. infections, health officials said Tuesday, and is thought to be responsible for at least one fatality in Texas.

3. -- Micron Shares Jump After Earnings Beat, Solid Chip Sector Outlook

Micron Technology  (MU) - Get Micron Technology, Inc. Report shares jumped higher in pre-market trading after the chipmaker posted stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings and a solid near-term outlook.

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Micron, which makes chips across an array of sectors, including PCs, mobile phones, data centers and autos, said supply chain issues should start to ease in the coming months, helping current quarter revenues rise to around $7.5 billion, a tally which topped analysts' forecasts. 

For the three months ending on December 2, the group's fiscal first quarter, Micron earned an adjusted $2.16 per share on sales of $7.69 billion.

Micron shares were marked 6.4% higher in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $87.30 each.

4. -- Nike Rides Home Sales Surge, Sees Supply Chain Issues Easing Into Next Year

Nike  (NKE) - Get NIKE, Inc. Class B Report shares moved higher in pre-market trading after the world's biggest sports apparel company topped Wall Street forecasts for its second quarter earnings, thanks in part to soaring sales in its home north American market.

Covid-linked closures in Vietnam, its key manufacturing hub, kept 130 million product units from hitting the shelves last quarter, the company said, but record Black Friday sales for its digital division helped overall north American revenues rise 12%, to $4.48 billion, offsetting a 20% slump in China sales.

Overall, Nike earned 83 cents per share on sales of $11.4 billion, while noting it's 'increasingly confident' that supply chain issues will normalize over the first half of the next calendar year. 

Nike shares were marked 3.2% higher in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $162.00 each. 

5. -- Manchin Hints At Build Back Better Support As Unions Urge Re-Think

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin indicated late Monday that he could be persuaded to support President Joe Biden's Build Back Better spending bill following pressure from coal mining unions and a harsh rebuke from the White House.

Manchin, who's support is crucial to the Senate passage of the $1.75 billion spending package, given the Democrats slim majority in the chamber, told a West Virginia radio station that White House staff were to blame for his change of heart on the bill, but noted that an overhaul of the current tax code, as well as lower costs for prescription drugs, could bring him back on board.

At the same time, America’s biggest coal mining union, as well as the West Virginia AFL-CIO, have urged Manchin to return to the bargaining table, a move which could have significant impact on Manchin's political calculus for the bill.