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Wall Street Extends Fifth-Straight Winning Day As Investors Look Past Omicron

Riding its best five-day win streak since early November, Wall Street is looking past record Covid infection rates and extending its annual "Santa Claus rally" in pre-market trading.

U.S. stocks extended gains Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average notching 96.3 points to close at 36,398.67.

The Dow continued its five-day win streak since November, amid investor optimism that the current spread of omicron infections with have a short-lived impact on the global economy.

Other indices also mostly stayed put: the Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.6% to close at 15,781.72, and the S&P 500 slid 0.1% to close at 4,786.45.

Studies suggesting the new variant carries milder symptoms, as well as guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to shorten isolation times for those infected to five days from 10, has added to solid December gains for stocks on Wall Street even as case counts continue to rise.

Apple  (AAPL) - Get Free Report, in fact, said late Monday that it will close all 12 of its New York City stores amid a surge in Covid infections in the state, where hospitalizations have topped 5,500 over the Christmas week, a level last seen in February, and daily case counts nearing 50,000.

Globally, reported Covid cases hit a record 1.44 million on Monday, lifting the seven-day moving average to around 841,000.

Still, markets found support from Europe Tuesday, where governments in Britain and France declined to impose new restrictions on businesses and individual despite soaring case numbers and accelerating hospitalizations.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 155 points by mid-day, while the S&P 500 rose 2.5 points from last night's record close.

The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite, however, edged 55 points lower even as benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields fell to 1.465% in early New York trading.

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Free Report shares were a notable early mover, rising 1.2% after analysts at Wedbush published a note maintaining their 'outperform' rating on the stock and arguing that China demand will remain a 'lynchpin' in the carmaker's near-term growth.

Apple, too, was on the move, falling 0.25% — but still close to an historic $3 trillion market cap — following last night's news of New York store closures. 

Boeing  (BA) - Get Free Report shares, too, booked a 1.7% gain after officials in Indonesia cleared the planemaker's 737 Max for a return to service following a crash in October of 2018.

Indonesia' transport ministry said the decision was effective immediately, and marked one of the final clearance hurdles for the workhorse jet in a major aircraft market, with China's Civil Aviation Authority (CAAC) issuing an "airworthiness directive" earlier this month.

Staying in the sector, airline stocks were higher even after the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, suggested a vaccine mandate may be needed for domestic travel, adding to pressures brought by the cancellation of another 700 flights today amid Covid-related staff shortages and severe winter weather. 

United Airlines  (UAL) - Get Free Report shares were marked 1.1% higher while Delta Air Lines  (DAL) - Get Free Report gained 0.9% to $38.06 and American Airlines  (AAL) - Get Free Report 1.1%.

In overseas trading, Europe's region-wide Stoxx 600 was marked 0.55% higher by mid-day trading Frankfurt, extending its recent one-month high, while Asia's MSCI ex-Japan index added 0.55% heading into the end of the session.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 1.37% higher at 29,069.16 points, with stocks spurred on by data showing a surge in November factory output, powered by a 43.1% rebound in domestic car production.