U.S. stocks traded extended gains Wednesday after the Food & Drug Administration approved Pfizer's Covid pill treatment, which has also shown to be effective against Omicron, for emergency use in at-risk patients.
The decision, which lifted Pfizer (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report shares more than 2% in mid-day trading, added to yesterday's session to solid gains, although investors also remained focused on news from Washington, as the White House continues to negotiate President Joe Biden's $1.75 trillion 'Build Back Better's spending bill with senior Democrats, including recalcitrant Senator Joe Manchin.
Omicron's spread, however, continues to dominate market sentiment on what is likely the last full trading session of the week, with infections doubling every one and a half to three days, according to the World Health Organization, and countries instituting business and travel restrictions in order to tame its advance.
Still, data from South Africa suggests hospitalizations linked to Omicron are far less likely than with Delta, and while the strain its likely to become dominant in Europe over the coming weeks, its symptoms remain less severe than those reported from prior incarnations.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was marked 195 points by mid-day trading, with the S&P 500 bumped 33 points into the green.
The Nasdaq Composite was marked 120 points higher from last night's close as benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields eased to 1.46% in New York trading.
CarMax (KMX) - Get CarMax, Inc. Report shares fell 4.7% after the vehicle-buying website posted stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings amid a record surge in used car prices triggered by the Covid pandemic.
Tesla (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report shares were also on the move, rising 7.3% after 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.
In overseas trading, Europe's region-wide Stoxx 600 was marked 0.09% higher by the close of trading in Frankfurt while Asia's MSCI ex-Japan index was marked 0.5% higher and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo closed 0.16% to the good at 28,562.21 points.