US Markets: Wall Street extended gains in the mid-morning deals after opening largely flat on Wednesday, 22 December, as investors silently accumulate equities following the higher-than-estimated GDP growth in the July-September quarter, alongside a better-than-expected improvement in the consumer confidence in the month of December. The sale of existing homes in the US witnessed a third consecutive rise as sales grew 1.9% in November of 2021.
According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, the GDP of the United States registered a growth of 2.3% in the three months to September 2021, effectively beating the street expectations and supplementing the growth in the second quarter when the national economic output expanded by 6.7%.
The apparently positive macroeconomic data has evidently supported the American equities, at a time when the Washington administration continues to contemplate the ongoing pandemic developments with the Omicron variant becoming the dominant strain in the country, accounting for more than 73% of the recent cases.
Markets have turned extremely volatile as the coronavirus pandemic continues to handhold the economic growth. The mass arrival of the Omicron variant, its higher transmissibility and dominating position have furthered the challenges for businesses, effectively making the financial markets more uncertain as investors fear that fresh restrictions, reimposition of lockdowns, stern border control measures, curbs on hospitality sector enterprises, and other counter-protective measures can potentially derail the national economy from the so-called growth trajectory.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 167.20 points, or 0.47% to 35,659.90, the technology heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 136.60 points, or 0.89% to 15,477.69, while the wider share indicator S&P 500 added 34.15 points, or 0.73% to 4,683.38.
US Market News: Amid the blue-chip components of Dow Jones, shares of Caterpillar, Visa, Merch & Co, American Express, Microsoft, and Walgreens Boots Alliance rose 1-2%, while the stocks of Nike, Walmart, 3M and Honeywell International dipped 0.2% to 1%.
Shares of Tesla jumped more than 7% after the CEO, Co-founder and early-stage investors Elon Musk said that he had achieved the goal of offloading 10% of his stake in the clean energy corporation in order to meet the applicable tax liability. The stock of Tesla emerged as the biggest gainer among the 100 components of Nasdaq Component on Wednesday.
Other major gainers include Paychex, Xilinx, Intuitive Surgical, ADP, Marriott International, Alphabet, Cadence Design Systems, Marvell Technology, Synopsys, Netflix, Paccar, Autodesk, Nvidia, Cerner, Lululemon Athletica, Microsoft, PayPal and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, rising 1-7%.
On the other hand, the stock of Moderna continued to decline, followed by Pinduoduo, Trip.com Group, Peloton Interactive, Cintas, CrowdStrike Holdings, Zoom Video Communications, Booking Holdings, Align Technology, DocuSign, and Baidu lost 1-6%. Moderna shares crashed approximately 6% on Wednesday, taking the three-day plunge to nearly 14%.
UK Markets: London equities ended slightly higher on Wednesday with the domestic headline index FTSE 100 regaining the psychological level of 7,300 in the terminal trades. It was on 9 December, when the market index ended over 7,300. Market participants have apparently overturned the subduedness due to the lower-than-expected GDP growth in the July-September quarter.
Shares of Dechra Pharmaceuticals topped the FTSE 100 constituents with a gain of more than 4%, while the stock of Rentokil Initial slipped 2.5%. Among the top 10 heavyweight shares, only Glencore, Diageo and BP shares managed a worthwhile rise in the market prices.
The benchmark FTSE 100 finished 44.25 points, or 0.61% higher at 7,341.66, while the mid-cap heavy FTSE 250 advanced 260.49 points, or 1.14% to end at 23,080.79.
FTSE 100 (22 December)
Top 3 volume leaders:, Vodafone Group, Lloyds Banking Group, and Barclays
Top 3 sectoral indices: Personal Goods, Household Goods, and Electronic & Electrical Equipment
Bottom 3 sectoral indices: Personal Care, Tobacco
Crude oil prices: Brent crude up 1.12% at $74.79/barrel; US WTI crude up 1.53% at $72.21/barrel
Gold prices: An ounce of gold traded at $1,798.15, up 0.53%
Exchange rate: GBP vs USD - 1.3350, up 0.64% | GBP vs EUR - 1.1789, up 0.31%
Bond yields: US 10-Year Treasury yield - 1.460% | UK 10-Year Government Bond yield - 0.8915%
Markets @ 16:35 GMT
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