London, Thursday, 23 December 2021 -
On Thursday, the S&P 500 gained 0.6 percent to close at 4,726 a new closing record high, the Dow Jones gained nearly 200 points to close at 35,951 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.9 percent as fears that the omicron variant would derail economic growth faded and President Biden stated that the US would not return to lockdown.
The omicron form is less severe than earlier strains, according to a South African study, yet it is more infectious. On the data front, US consumer spending increased for the sixth month in a row, but at a slower pace than in October, while annual PCE inflation hit 5.7 percent, the highest level in 39 years.
Last week, unemployment claims remained below pre-pandemic levels. The Nasdaq Composite gained 2.8 percent, the S&P gained 2.2 percent, and the Dow Jones gained 1.7 percent, all of which were new highs for the week. Friday is a holiday in the United States, so markets are closed.
Meanwhile in Europe concerns over the omicron strain retreated as European equities finished at two-week highs on Thursday. The Stoxx 600 index jumped 1.0 percent across Europe, with the travel and leisure sector up 1.7 percent, and Germany's DAX up 1.1 percent.
After a trio of investigations revealed that infections with the omicron strain resulted in reduced hospitalization rates and milder cases, public sentiment improved. On the corporate front, Ryanair has warned that its losses this year could more than treble as a result of additional travel restrictions imposed in response to the Omicron's spread.
On the data front, German import prices rose to their highest level since 1974, while consumer confidence in the United States exceeded forecasts in December. Meanwhile, Italy's Prime Minister stated that if elected by Parliament, he would be happy to serve as the country's next President, adding that the country's political stability is not in jeopardy. The DAX gained 0.7 percent and the Stoxx 600 gained 1.4 percent on a weekly basis.
U.S. Stock Market Indexes
S&P 500: +29.16 (+0.62%) to 4,725.72
Nasdaq: +131.48 (+0.85%) to 15,653.37
Dow Jones: +196.57 (+0.55%) to 35,950.46
European Stock Market Indexes
STOXX Europe 600: +4.65 points, or 0.97%, to close at 483.01
FTSE 100 in London: +31 points, or 0.43%, to end at 7,373
DAX 30 in Germany: +162 points, or 1.04%, to close at 15,756
CAC 40 in France: +54 points, or 0.77%, to 7,106
FTSE MIB 30 in Italy: +188 points, or 0.7%, to close at 27,016
IBEX 35 in Spain: the best performer of the day, +104 points, or 1.24%, to finish at 8,563
Ten-year U.S. Treasury note: +3.6 bps to yield 1.4930%
Dollar index: -0.02 or -0.02% at 96.05 as of Dec 23, 2021 at 5:02 p.m. EST
VIX volatility index: −0.67 (3.60%) at 17.96 as of Dec 23, 3:15 PM CST
Brent crude: -0.08 or -0.10% at $76.56 as of Dec 23, 2021 9:59 p.m. GMT
West Texas Intermediate: +1.00 or 1.37% $73.76 as of Dec 23, 2021 4:59 p.m. ES
Gold: +4.59 or +0.25% at $1,808.29
Silver: +0.12 or +0.54% or $ 22.90
Bitcoin: +2,171.10 (4.47%) at $ 50,779.50 as of Dec 23, 10:14 PM UTC
Etherum: +126.23 (3.17%) at $ 4,107.35 as of Dec 23, 10:19 PM UTC
(Written and edited by: The Decision Maker)