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Stock futures inch higher after sell-off prompted by first U.S. omicron case

U.S. Stock Index Futures rose on Wednesday night after the CDC confirmed that the first known case was of the omicron variation in America. The news sent stock prices plummeting.

Futures contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 72 percent. S&P 500 futures advanced 0.2%, while Nasdaq 100 futures added 0.25%.

regular tradingThe Dow dropped 1.24% or about 460 points. The 30-stock benchmark, which tracks 30 stocks, had gained 521 points (or 1.5%) earlier in the session. The S&P dipped 1.18%, giving back an earlier gain of about 1.9%. After trading 1.8% earlier, the Nasdaq Composite fell 1.83%.

Stocks fell below their previous highs following statements by Jerome Powell, Fed chairman, that policymakers would discuss the possibility for a quicker taper schedule during the Fed meeting in October.

In a Congressional testimony, he stated, “At the moment, the economy has been very strong, and inflationary tensions are higher. It is therefore appropriate for me to consider wrapping-up the taper of asset purchases, which I actually announced during the November meeting. Perhaps a few months earlier.” I expect we’ll discuss this at the upcoming meeting.

The CDC announced that an omicron variant of the virus had made its way into the United States, and the first case was confirmed in California.

“Investors have become more concerned about Omicron variants and the potential for faster tapering,” TD Securities wrote in a note to customers.

Investors feared the new omicron version could result in stricter travel regulations, which was particularly hard on stocks related to travel. All three sectors, including hotels stocks and airlines, finished the session in deep red.

As the market considers the implications of Wednesday’s whipsaw, stocks will continue to be volatile.

Oanda senior market analyst Ed Moya said, “We have seen the movie before. Wall Street will likely continue to be COVID-variant headline driven up until a clear assessment can be made over this wave.” “The next few weeks will see risk appetite take the cue from incremental Omicron update, supply chain issues and any inflation readings,” he said.

The data side, Thursday’s weekly initial jobless claims statistics will be made public at 8:30 am ET. ET. According to Dow Jones estimates, economists expect a print of 240,000. The prior readingThis was the lowest figure since November 1969, with 199,000 new filers. Friday will see the release of November’s jobs report.

This Thursday’s reading is a follow-up to Wednesday’s ADP report that was better than expected. Private payrollsThe November increase was 534,000, which is more than the 506,000 expected.

The bulk of the third quarter earnings season is done, but there are still companies that report quarterly results. Signet Jewelers, Kroger and Dollar General will report Thursday morning before the open bell. After the market closes, Ulta Beauty and Marvell Technology are on the list.

Mike Robinson
Mike covers the financial, utilities and biotechnology sectors for Street Register. He has been writing about investment and personal finance topics for almost 12 years. Mike has an MBA in Finance from Wake Forest University.