On Thursday, Wall Street’s main indexes rose for the third straight day, with the S&P 500 closing at a new high, as optimistic developments eased market concerns about the economic impact of the Omicron coronavirus type.
Stocks finished the holiday-shortened week on a high note, boosting investor morale ahead of Christmas. Consumer discretionary and industrials, which jumped around 1.2 percent, led the S&P 500 sectors higher.
AstraZeneca (AZN) Plc and Novavax (NVAX) Inc said their vaccines were protected against Omicron, citing UK data that suggested it caused proportionally fewer hospital cases than the Delta version; however public health experts said the fight against COVID-19 was far from done.
For most of the December of 2021, which has been a great year for equities, the entrance of Omicron has helped ratchet up market volatility.
On Friday, Asia-Pacific stocks were mixed as some of the region’s main markets, including Hong Kong and Singapore, closed early for Christmas Eve.
The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong rose 0.13 percent on the day to close at almost 23,224.
The ASX 200 index in Australia increased 0.44 percent to close at 7,420.29. Singapore’s Straits Times index closed 0.37 percent higher at 3,108.30 in Southeast Asia.
The Nikkei 225 index down 0.13 percent to 28,782.59, while the Topix index fell 0.13 percent to 1,986.78 in Japan. The Kospi in South Korea rose 0.48 percent to 3,012.43 at the end of the trading day.
Stocks on the mainland of China, on the other hand, ended the day lower. Shanghai’s composite slid 0.7 percent to 3,618, while Shenzhen’s component fell 1.03 percent to 14,710.34.
On Thursday, defensive sectors fell behind, which had outperformed mainly in December. The real estate industry dropped 0.4 percent.
After dipping in the previous three sessions, the S&P 500 has gained over the past three days.