S&P 500 ends at another record

The S&P 500 ended at a second consecutive record on Monday, as investors bet the latest surge in Covid-19 cases will cause only a limited economic hit.

Denmark, Greece and Iceland all reported record daily coronavirus cases, while US President Joe Biden said some hospitals could be “overrun,” but that the country was generally well prepared to meet the latest Covid surge.

In spite of those counts, the market’s view is that “Omicron is going to be a nuisance but not a dire strait for the global economy – at least not for long,” said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O’Hare.

The broad-based index ended up 1.4 percent at 4,791.

The Dow Jones climbed 1.0 percent to 36,302, while the Nasdaq jumped 1.4 percent to 15,871.

Monday opened the historically strong seven-day post-Christmas stretch known on trading floors as the “Santa Claus rally,” a period of low trading volumes and light news flow that usually sees stocks drift higher.

Since 1945, the S&P 500 has risen more than three out of every four years during this period, winning an average 1.2 percent, according to CFRA Research’s Sam Stovall.

Most sectors advanced early on Monday, but leading airlines like United and Delta fell amid mass flight cancellations caused by infections or quarantines among airline and airport staff.

Cruise companies Carnival and Norwegian also dropped into the red, as did Expedia and Booking Holdings. (AFP)