US stock index futures rose in early morning trading Thursday after Wall Street slumped Wednesday after the CDC confirmed the first known case of the Omicron variant in the US.
The Biden government responded to the news by asking companies to comply with vaccination regulations, despite the government's mandate in court pending review. The White House also tightened travel rules that require arriving passengers to be tested within 24 hours of departure.
Futures contracts pegged to the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 287 points, or 0.71%. S&P 500 futures gained 0.72% while Nasdaq 100 futures gained 0.4%.
Airlines, casinos and energy stocks led the winners in pre-trading.
The shares of the Dow component Boeing rose 3.6%, the cruise line Royal Caribbean rose 3.6%, while MGM Resorts International rose 2.7%.
"It feels like the market is wondering when, not if, this new twist on our stocks will be available," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities. "More important to the marketplace will be what we hear about the effectiveness of our vaccines and therapeutics over the next few weeks."
During Wednesday's regular trading session, the Dow fell about 460 points, or 1.34%. At the start of the session, the 30-stock benchmark was up 521 points, or 1.5%. The S&P lost 1.18%, reflecting an earlier rise of around 1.9%. The Nasdaq Composite lost 1.83% after previously trading 1.8% higher.
Shares had risen sharply at the beginning of the session but fell on news that the first Omicron case was reported in California.
"Investors are increasingly cautious with the Omicron variant and the likelihood of a faster excavation," said TD Securities in a statement to customers.
Wednesday's Whipsaw continues a very volatile period for stocks as the market digests what the new variant means.
Travel-related stocks were particularly hard hit as investors feared the Omicron variant could lead to stricter travel requirements. Cruise companies, airlines and hotel stocks ended the session deep in the red.
"We've seen this movie before and Wall Street will likely continue to be headline news for the COVID variant until a clear assessment of this wave is possible," said Ed Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda. “For the next several weeks, risk taking will likely be guided by Omicron incremental updates, supply chain issues, and any inflation measurement,” he added.
On the data front, the weekly numbers of initial jobless claims will be released on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET. According to estimates by Dow Jones, economists expect 240,000 copies to be printed. The previous reading showed 199,000 first-time applicants, the lowest since November 1969. The November job report will be released on Friday.
Thursday's reading follows a better-than-expected ADP report on Wednesday. The number of private employees increased by 534,000 in November, ahead of the expected 506,000.
Although most of the third quarter reporting season is over, some companies are still releasing quarterly results. Dollar General, Kroger and Signet Jewelers will report on Thursday before the opening bell. Ulta Beauty, Marvell Technology and Ollie & # 39; s Bargain Outlet are among the names on deck after the market closes.