U.S. markets rebounded on Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 617 points, or 1.82%, after two straight days of losses brought on by concerns about the Omicron COVID-19 variant. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 2 (UPI) -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 617 points on Thursday as markets rebounded from losses brought on by concerns about the presence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.
The blue-chip index gained 1.82%, while the S&P 500 increased 1.42% and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.83% after markets gave up early gains on Wednesday as health officials reported the first identified case of Omicron in the United States.
Despite a second case of the variant being reported in Minnesota Thursday, travel stocks, which took some of the largest dips Thursday, bounced back.
Delta Air Lines stock rose 9.28%, Norwegian Cruise Lines stock gained 7.7%, MGM Resorts stock increased 7.65% and Hilton Hotels closed the day up 7.41%.
"We've seen this movie before and Wall Street will likely remain COVID-variant headline-driven until a clear assessment over this wave can be made," Ed Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda, said according to CNBC. "The next couple of weeks will likely see risk appetite take a cue from incremental Omicron updates, supply chain issues and every inflation reading."
Crude oil prices also rebounded following a sell-off Wednesday as U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures rose 1% to $66.59 per barrel as OPEC and its allies agreed to maintain their plans to increase output to 400,000 barrels per day beginning in January.
Energy prices got a boost with Baker Hughes gaining 2.48% and Occidental Petroleum rising 2.42%.
Boeing stock also gained 7.54% to help lead the Dow after its 737 Max aircraft was cleared for flight by China.
Initial job claims for the week ending Nov. 27, rose by about 28,000 to 222,000, according to a Labor Department report Thursday, after having reported 199,000 new unemployment filings -- which was the fewest for any week since 1969 -- last week.
Investors will also be closely eyeing the November jobs report set to release Friday, with economists estimating an increase in new jobs from October.