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S&P 500 closes near a record high as investors bet on minimal impact from Omicron

Business Insider logo Business Insider 12/8/2021 (Carla Mozée)
Scott Heins/Getty Images © Scott Heins/Getty Images Scott Heins/Getty Images
  • Wall Street's main stock indexes closed higher Wednesday, overcoming earlier pressure. 
  • The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks also stood out in a third consecutive session of gains for Wall Street. 
  • The S&P 500's last record high was set in mid-November, above 4,700. 

US stocks ended higher Wednesday, as the week's rally resumed on the back of easing concerns that the Omicron strain of coronavirus would have a significant impact on the global economy. 

Wall Street's benchmarks had pulled back earlier in the session but gains for the communication services, health care and materials sectors helped the S&P 500 finish near a record high. The index's last record closing peak of 4,704.54 was set on November 18. 

Some support came from an announcement by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech that preliminary lab data show three doses of their COVID vaccine are effective at neutralizing the Omicron strain. 

"Small caps are the key strength in the market today after underperforming large caps for the past month. A rebound could reflect confidence in the economy reopening and moving past recent coronavirus concerns," Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, told Insider, outpointing the performance of the Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks.

The Nasdaq Composite added to Tuesday's rally of 3%.

Video: S&P 500 Closes Down 2.3% as Variant Spooks Investors (Bloomberg)

Here's where US indexes stood at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday:   

The overall outlook for global equities is positive "with Omicron concerns almost entirely evaporating," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, in a note early Wednesday. 

Around the markets, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon doesn't expect stocks to keep delivering the bumper returns investors have enjoyed in the last few years. 

Investment company First Trust filed for a metaverse-themed exchange-traded fund.

Oil prices rose. West Texas Intermediate crude tacked on 0.8% to $72.64 per barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, gained 0.6% at $75.92. 

Gold picked up 0.2% to $1,786.81 per ounce. The 10-year yield rose 3 basis points to 1.503%. 

Bitcoin narrowed its intraday loss to 0.2%, at $50,564.

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