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U.S. stocks end at record high, oil prices rise as Omicron fears abate


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U.S. stocks end at record high, oil prices rise as Omicron fears abate

Reuters.pngStock MarketsDec 23, 2021 

By Jessica DiNapoli

NEW YORK (Reuters) -The S&P 500 notched a record-high close on Thursday, with oil prices also rising, as investors and traders were optimistic about positive economic data and discounted the impact of the Omicron coronavirus variant on the economy, even as COVID-19 case counts soar.

Stocks rose broadly on the last trading day of the week ahead of a long Christmas weekend in the United States, after data showing consumer spending rose 0.6% last month. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits held below pre-pandemic levels last week, helping add to the gains.

Signs that Omicron is less likely to lead to hospitalization, and indications that both Merck's and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE)'s COVID-19 anti-viral pills are effective against the variant, added to the festive cheer in the market.

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