NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks rallied for a second straight session on Tuesday (Dec 7) as investors cheered early indications that the latest Covid-19 variant may be less severe than earlier rounds.
The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index, which lagged other major indices on Monday, led with a 3 per cent jump to 15,686.92.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 1.4 per cent to 35,719.43, while the broad-based S&P 500 gained 2.1 per cent to 4,686.75.
After worries about the Omicron variant pushed major indices into the red last week, stocks have been on the rise this week as fears of a worst-case scenario ebb.
Top US scientist Anthony Fauci told AFP that while Omicron is highly contagious, "it almost certainly is not more severe than Delta".
The comments were broadly consistent with those of Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla, who said at a Wall Street Journal event that while Omicron may spread faster than earlier variants, "it looks like it's milder, but we don't know yet".
LBBW director Karl Haeling said the market's gains were "centred on reduced worries about Omicron", after sentiment had become "unsustainably pessimistic".
Tuesday's economic data included a drop in the US trade deficit in October following a bigger rise in exports than imports.
Among individual companies, Intel won 3 per cent after announcing plans to spin off a stake of Mobileye but maintain majority ownership of the driver-assistance company.