Dow, S&P 500 poised for modest rise toward new records in 2021’s penultimate session

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US stocks on Thursday looked set to extend their gains toward new records through 2021, with investors at least partly motivated by the belief that an Omicron-fueled spread of COVID will not do permanent damage to the economy. Will deliver

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Investors are looking forward to its final economic report for this calendar year, which includes a weekly US update on unemployment insurance benefits seekers.

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How are the stock benchmarks performing?

On Wednesday, the Dow DJIA,
+0.25%
increased by 90.42 points, or 0.3%, to end at a record 36,488.63, marking its 45th record at the close of 2021; s&p 500 index spx,
+0.14%
He finished at a record 4,793.06, up 6.71 points, or 0.1%, close to his 70th record of 2021. NASDAQ Composite Index Comp,
-0.10%,
However, it closed 15.51 points or 0.1% lower at 15,766.22.

week, month and year

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For the week, the Dow is headed for a 1.5% gain, with the S&P 500 looking up 1.4%, with the Nasdaq Composite seeing a 0.7% gain over the period. For the month and year, the Dow was on track to gain 5.8% in December and 19.2% for 2021, with the S&P 500 seeing a 5% increase for the month so far and 28.4% year over year. While the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.5% in the month and 22.5% in 2021.

What is driving the market?

US stock index futures rose higher in early trading after the S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at new records on Wednesday, prompting investors to await a report on early jobless claims for the week ending December 25. To help provide further evidence that the Omicron version of the virus that causes COVID-19 is not causing significant damage to the jobs market and economy.

Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal expect first-time applications for unemployment benefits to hit a 50-year low of around 205,000. The data will be released at 8:30 am Eastern Time.

Evidence in recent weeks suggests that the omicron variant of COVID results in milder symptoms than earlier strains of the coronavirus. The number of Americans now in hospital with COVID-19 is running around 60,000, or nearly half the figure seen in January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported, even though new daily cases are on record.

It is highly unlikely that the number of hospitalizations will ever reach its previous peak, says Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Businesshala School of Public Health. told the Associated Press, Vaccines and treatments developed over the past year have made it easier to stop the spread of the virus and reduce serious effects in people with successful infections.

“It’s going to take some time for people to get used to the fact that matters don’t matter like they used to,” Adalja said. “We have a lot of defense against that.” But despite fewer people being hospitalized than in previous surges, the virus could wreak havoc on hospitals and health care workers.

In addition, Johnson & Johnson JNJ,
+1.11%
said on Thursday that a South African Phase 3 study showed that the booster shot of its vaccine was 85% effective in preventing hospitalizations related to COVID-19.

Beyond unemployment figures, investors are also eyeing a report on manufacturing activity in the Chicago area for December. Chicago PMI is set to come in at 62, up from 61.8 in the previous month. The data is scheduled to be released at 9:45 a.m. There will be no data on Friday to mark the New Year’s holiday.

Which companies are in focus?
How are the other properties performing?

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