Futures Jump After Reaction to Omicron

Dow futures rose in early trading Thursday despite the arrival of the latest COVID variant on U.S. shores and as the White House tightened travel restrictions.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrials recovered 253 points or 0.7%, to 34,255.

Futures for the S&P 500 rocketed 20.75 points, or 0.5%, to 4,529.25.

Futures for the NASDAQ obtained 11.5 points, or 0.1%, to 15,881.25.

The Biden administration reacted to the news that an omicron case had been reported in California by asking businesses to proceed with vaccination requirements, even though the administration’s mandate was halted in courts pending review. The White House also tightened travel rules, requiring inbound passengers to be tested within 24 hours prior to departure.

Airline, casino and energy stocks led the gainers in premarket trading on Thursday, rebounding from Wednesday’s selloff.

Dow component Boeing’s shares jumped 3.6% after China cleared the 737 Max to return to fly. Cruise line Royal Caribbean was up 3.6% while MGM Resorts International moved 2.7% higher.

Investors continue to watch for developments on the new omicron COVID-19 variant, with uncertainty around its rate of transmissibility and fears that it could evade vaccines. Market participants are also preoccupied by the possibility of the Federal Reserve tapering its asset purchasing program at a faster-than-expected pace.

Still, Bank of America noted that December has historically been the strongest month for the S&P 500, with the average gaining 2.3% on average since 1936 and positive 79% of the time. However, December has not always been immune to selloffs,

On the data front, weekly initial jobless claims numbers will be released Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists are expecting a print of 240,000, according to estimates from Dow Jones. The prior reading showed 199,000 first-time filers, which was the lowest since November 1969. The November jobs report will be released on Friday.

Thursday’s reading follows a better-than-expected ADP report on Wednesday. Private payrolls increased by 534,000 in November, ahead of the expected 506,000.

Overseas, markets in Japan drooped 0.7% Thursday, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.6%.

Oil prices jumped 21 cents to $65.78 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices ducked back $3.30 to $1,781 U.S. an ounce.