US stocks end sharply higher as Omicron variant risks ease

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At the close, the Dow gained 493 points to 35,720, while the S&P 500 rose 95 points at 4,687 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq climbed 462 points to 15,687

4.05pm: Nasdaq surges as much as 3%  

US stocks finished the trading session sharply higher as investors shrugged off concerns over the new coronavirus (COVID-19) Omicron variant, which could be milder than feared.

At the close, the Dow gained 493 points to 35,720, while the S&P 500 rose 95 points at 4,687 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq climbed 462 points to 15,687.    

Notable movers included shares of Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), which advanced nearly 4% as Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) increased its target price on the stock to $200 per share, citing the consumer electronics giant’s commitment to developing augmented and virtual reality technology.

12:10pm: US equities blast off at midday 

US stock jumped higher midday as investors grew less fearful of the potential economic impact from the new Omicron coronavirus variant.

Experts say the market is betting that the new COVID-19 strain may only cause milder illnesses as some officials at first feared a stronger and deadlier outbreak.

As of noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 537 points, or 1.53%, to 35,784. The S&P 500 rose 96 points, or 2%, to 4,687.  
And the tech-heavy Nasdaq increased 443 points, or 2.9%, to 15,667.

Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading group IG, said investors, in a “mad scramble,” are now rushing back into the market for bargains.

“Billions have been ‘wiped on’ to share prices since Friday’s lows, December living up to its reputation as one of the strongest months for equities,” he said. “In retrospect the variant news from just after Thanksgiving was almost ideally-timed to hit a market in need of a pullback, and this movement has thrown up some great buying opportunities in a host of sectors.” 

The biggest gainer on the day so far is MongoDB Inc, up 15% to $493 a share.

11am: Proactive North America headlines:

BuzzFeed has a first day to forget

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Looking Glass Lab establishes new global corporate headquarters in Vancouver, British Columbia

LQwD Fintech announces the appointment of Alexandra Moxin as VP of Product to the company, effective immediately

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CLS Holdings USA (CSE:CLSH, OTCQB:CLSH) taps cannabis veteran Dani Baranowski to help grow its City Trees product division

BioVaxys announces collaboration with Ohio State University to expand research on reactive pan-sarbecovirus vaccine

Cypress Development reports successful pilot plant start-up at its Clayton Valley Lithium Project in Nevada

DGTL Holdings closes the first tranche of its previously announced financing

GameSquare Esports subsidiary Complexity Gaming signs popular Warzone trio the Baka Bros as content creators and competitors

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Renforth Resources following up on successful stripping program at Surimeau with drill program

New Pacific Metals (TSX:NUAG, NYSE:NEWP) announces election of two additional board directors, AGM voting results

Context Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CNTX) closes its $31.3M private placement

Silver Range Resources (AIM:RRL, ASX:RRS) updates on property portfolio and new hires

Organic Garage (TSX-V:OG) says its subsidiary Future of Cheese’s plant-based launch is selling faster than expected

PsyBio Therapeutics successfully completes first pre-IND meeting with the FDA

Electra Battery gets greenlight from engineering report for lithium-ion battery recycling

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Plurilock says Aurora Systems receives US$285,000 purchase order from US Federal Bureau of Investigation

Xigem Technologies (CSE:XIGM, OTCQB:XIGMF) eyeing completion of Cylix Data Group acquisition before the year-end

LEAF Mobile announces name change to East Side Games Group as it provides corporate update

American Manganese says Indian Patent Office has issued patent for its first lithium-ion battery recycling invention

Lion Copper and Gold boosts board with experienced financial executive Thomas Pressello

American Eagle Gold says drilling has begun at its flagship Golden Gate property

9.50am: US stocks surge at open

US stocks jumped at the open as markets rebounded on easing fears of the Omicron variant wreaking havoc on the global economy.

In New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped over 397 points to stand at 35,634, while the S&P 500 added around 66 points to stand at 4,658.

The tech heavy Nasdaq Composite index advanced around 308 points to go to 15,534.

In company news, pharma titan GlaxoSmithKline saw its shares advance on news that early-stage studies had shown its antibody therapy for coronavirus (Covid-19), developed with US based Vir Biotechnology (VIR) was effective against the Omicron variant.

Also. electric vehicle giant Tesla shares added almost 3% despite reports that it had had to replace Autopilot cameras in the front fenders of three of its models.

Elsewhere, the US trade deficit shrank 18% in October after the biggest surge in exports in 13 years and a slowdown in imports tied to congestion at domestic ports. The figure was $67.1 billion compared to record $81.4 billion in the prior month. Economists had expected a $67 billion deficit.

6.30am: US stocks seen opening higher 

US stocks are expected to open higher, continuing a recovery made on reports that the new Omicron variant of coronavirus (COVID-19) is likely to be less damaging to the global economy than previous strains due to milder symptoms.  

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.05% in Tuesday pre-market trading, while contracts for the broader S&P 500 index gained 1.33% and those for the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 added 1.81%.

Stocks closed higher on Monday as companies linked to the reopening of the economy gained, boosting sentiment on the Dow Jones. General Electric (NYSE:GE) gained 4%, Boeing rose 3% and Chevron added more than 2%.

On the day, the Dow added 647 points, or 1.87%, to close at 35,227 and the S&P 500 jumped 1.17% to 4,592. The Nasdaq Composite increased 0.93% to 15,225. 

“Following on from yesterday’s indicative news from South Africa that the new COVID-19 variant could be milder than previous versions symptom-wise, much the same message was reinforced by the US’s Dr Anthony Fauci overnight,” commented OANDA senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley.

“That was all markets needed to hear really and equity markets in Europe and the US followed Asia’s lead and piled back in. Unsurprisingly, travel and leisure led the way while technology only rose modestly. When looked at in totality, markets appear to be moving rapidly back into pricing up the Fed taper trade.

“Value (old boring companies) outperformed growth (exciting technology companies), which makes sense as the US yield curve also steepened once again overnight. The theory being that technology and their ilk, with sky-high valuations, are more sensitive to upward moves in interest rates,” Halley added.

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