A trader works on the floor on the last trading day before Christmas on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City, December 23, 2021.
Andrew Kelly | Reuters
U.S. stock futures ticked higher on Tuesday night after a mixed session as traders continued to assess the threat posed by Omicron's Covid-19 variant.
Futures pegged to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 38 points, or 0.1%. S&P 500 futures gained 0.2% and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.3%.
In the United States, more than 4.1 million Covid cases were confirmed this month, according to Johns Hopkins University. That is well above the number of 2.54 million in November. The country's seven-day average of cases is also 231,888, more than three times the November 27 average.
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently cut their isolation recommendation for people who test positive from 10 to five days if they have no symptoms. Research from South Africa also shows that Omicron infections can boost immunity to the Delta variant.
Stocks were under pressure in late November when the first news about the Omicron variant broke. However, they have rebounded since then, with the S&P 500 up 4.8% in December.
Virtus Investment Partners' Joe Terranova told CNBC's "Closing Bell" that the market has shown resilience over the past few weeks as traders weigh the Omicron variant and potentially tighter monetary policy from the Federal Reserve over the next year.
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However, he noted that the "risk profile of the market is clearly changing" due to the potential for higher volatility in the New Year.
The market "is moving towards a higher quality stake," Terranova said. "I don't think the market wants the speculative areas that investors have been rewarded in in recent years. These are the hyper-growth stocks, the high P / E, the cryptocurrency, the cannabis (names)."
During the regular trading session, the Dow posted its fifth straight gain, rising more than 90 points. The S&P 500 broke an intraday record before closing lower that day. The Nasdaq Composite lagged, down 0.6%.
Tuesday's movements take place during the "Santa Claus Rally" which spans the last five trading days of December and the first five days of January. This is a historically strong period for the market, with the S&P 500 having averaged 1.7% return since 1928.
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