Stocks closed higher on Wall Street Wednesday, adding to the week’s gains ahead of the Christmas holiday. The S&P 500 rose 1%, the Nasdaq rose 1.2% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.7%.
The Russell 2000, a measure of small-company stocks, rose 0.9%. Technology companies and a mix of retailers led the gains. Major indexes are still on track for weekly gains after a rally on Tuesday. European and Asian markets also closed higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.46%. US markets will be closed Friday in observance of Christmas. THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Earlier story follows below.
Stocks rose broadly in afternoon trading on Wall Street Wednesday, adding to the week’s gains ahead of the Christmas holiday.
The S&P 500 rose 0.6% as of 2:38 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 176 points, or 0.5%, to 35,670 and the Nasdaq rose 0.6%.
The Russell 2000, a measure of small-company stocks, rose 0.4%. Indexes were mostly higher in Europe and Asia.
Every major US index is still on track for weekly gains after a choppy several days where stocks bounced between sharp losses and solid gains. It is a shortened week for traders, with US markets closed Friday in observance of Christmas.
Retailers and other companies that rely on consumer spending accounted for a big share of the gains. They rose following an encouraging consumer confidence report.
Tesla jumped 6.4% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after CEO Elon Musk reportedly said he sold enough stock to reach his goal of selling 10% of his stake in the electric vehicle maker.
Technology and health care stocks also helped lift the market. Microsoft rose 1.1% and Abbott Laboratories was up 2.2%.
Traders bid up shares in cruise lines, hotel operators and other travel-related stocks. Carnival rose 3.6%, Marriott gained 2.7% and Expedia Group picked up 2.4%. Utilities and industrials companies lagged the market. Energy futures rose, with the price of US crude oil rising 2.5%. Bond yields edged mostly lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.46% from 1.48% late Tuesday.
The latest surge in coronavirus cases because of the omicron variant has been hanging over markets, along with concerns about rising inflation and its impact on economic growth.
The Commerce Department on Wednesday said the US economy grew at a 2.3% rate in the third quarter, slightly better than previously thought. But prospects for a solid rebound going forward are being clouded by the rapid spread of the latest variant of the coronavirus.
“The market is a little uncertain about that (omicron), but seems somewhat convinced that it isn’t going to turn into another lockdown,” said Scott Wren, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.
Governments in Asia and Europe have tightened travel controls or pushed back plans to relax curbs already in place. In the US, President Joe Biden announced Tuesday the government will provide rapid-test kits and increase vaccination efforts but gave no indication of plans for restrictions that might disrupt the economy.
Investors have also been busy shifting money between sectors as the close of the year approaches and they prepare for higher interest rates in 2022. The Federal Reserve has said it will hasten the process of cutting its bond purchases that have helped maintain low interest rates and that opens the door to rate increases from the central bank in 2022.