US stocks: Wall Street rises for fifth day, S&P 500 hits record high

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The US CDC on Monday shortened the recommended isolation time for Americans with asymptomatic cases to five days from the previous guidance of 10 days.

The S&P 500 hovered around record highs on Tuesday as conviction in the U.S. economy helped investors shrug off concerns over Omicron-driven travel disruptions and store closures, and extended Wall Street’s four-day rally amid thin trading volumes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday shortened the recommended isolation time for Americans with asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 to five days from the previous guidance of 10 days.

The CDC’s update, along with approvals to new pills and more vaccines to fight COVID-19, have all helped investors look past thousands of flight cancellations and Apple Inc shutting its New York stores due to surging cases, and put the three main indexes on pace for monthly gains.

“This policy change is sending the message that it is becoming more like the flu and less like the variants we saw early on when we had no treatments, no vaccines and it was much more deadly,” said Thomas Hayes, managing member at Great Hill Capital in New York.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq on Monday posted their best four-day rally since November 2020, with the S&P 500 closing at a peak.

Among the 11 major S&P 500 sector indexes, eight traded higher on Tuesday and financials led the charge.

At 9:44 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 114.24 points, or 0.31%, at 36,416.62, the S&P 500 was up 7.62 points, or 0.16%, at 4,798.81, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 3.97 points, or 0.03%, at 15,875.23.

Some megacap companies have roared in the recent rally, with Tesla Inc jumping 0.8% after surging nearly 22% in value over the past four sessions. Apple dipped 0.4% after coming within spitting distance of becoming the first U.S. company to hit $3 trillion in market capitalization in premarket trading.

Boeing added 1.9% as Indonesia lifted a ban on the company’s 737 MAX, three years after the crash of one of its aircraft that led to the loss of all 189 people on board.

Markets are in one of the seasonally strong periods, also called the Santa Claus Rally, with CFRA Research data showing the S&P 500 has on average risen 1.3% in the last 5 trading days of the year, and first two days of the new year since 1969.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.93-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.20-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 60 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 68 new highs and 69 new lows.

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