U.S. stocks pushed further into record high territory Thursday, extending the longest winning streak for the Dow since early March, as investors continue to take markets higher into the final trading sessions of the year amid fading concerns over the impact of surging Omicron infections.
The S&P 500 closed at a record high for the 70th time last night, marking the strongest year of gains for the broadest U.S. benchmark since 1995, while the Dow also hit an all-time peak -- albeit in thin trading volumes -- as investors shrugged off concerns over rising infections and warnings from major chipmakers that an outbreak in China could extend the globe's ongoing supply crunch.
That thesis may have found support from a South African Medical Research Council study of Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) - Get Johnson & Johnson Report single-dose Covid vaccine, which showed that boosters given to just under 69,000 healthcare workers over a six week period -- which overlapped with the surge in Omicron infections -- reduced hospitalizations by as much as 85%,
In Europe, the region-wide Stoxx 600 gained 0.26% on its final full trading day of the year, hovering just shy of its all-time peak, while Japan's Nikkei 225 closed out the year with a modest 0.4% decline that still leaves Asia's most active index at the highest levels since the early 1980s.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was marked 50 points higher in late morning trading, and hit fresh all time high of 36,679.44 points earlier in the session.
The S&P 500, meanwhile, added 10 points to last night's record close while the tech-focused Nasdaq Composite gained 80 points as benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields held at 1.532% in early New York trading.
In terms of individual stocks, Biogen (BIIB) - Get Biogen Inc. Report shares slumped 7.1% after Samsung BioLogics denied a report that it's discussing takeover plans that would value the drugmaker at around $42 billon.