Stock Market Today: Wall Street Extends Record High Push Into Year End on Fading Omicron Concerns

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U.S. equity futures edged higher 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 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%,

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In Europe, the region-wide Stoxx 600 gained 0.28% 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, futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average are indicating a 65 point opening bell gain heading into the final full trading day of the year, while those linked to the S&P 500 are priced for a 10 point advance from last night’s record close.

The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite is looking to open 45 points higher as benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields ease to 1.522% in overnight trading.

In terms of individual stocks, Biogen  (BIIB) – Get Biogen Inc. Report shares slumped lower in pre-market trading after Samsung BioLogics denied a report that it’s discussing takeover plans that would value the drugmaker at around $42 billon.

Didi Global’s  (DIDI) – Get DiDi Global Inc. Report U.S.-listed shares, meanwhile, fell 3.4% he China-based ride sharing group that is delisting from the New York Stock Exchange, posted a notable decline in third quarter revenues as it continues to feel pressure from regulators in Beijing.