Wall Street rebounds from Omicron-driven rout

A solid rebound on Wall Street Thursday as investors were back in the holiday sprit after the Omicron variant and talk around the Federal Reserve sparked volatility this week.

The Dow surged 617 points. The S&P 500 rose 64. The Nasdaq jumped 127.

Economic news helped improve the tone. The total number of Americans receiving some sort of jobless benefits dropped below 2 million for the first time since the economic shutdown pushed millions out of work nearly two years ago. Investors now eagerly await the Labor Department's monthly hiring and unemployment data due Friday.

As long as health-crisis fears are kept at bay, investors should find comfort in good economic growth, says Victoria Fernandez of Crossmark Global Investments.

"So I'm not sure how clear my crystal ball is on what's going to happen over the next couple of months, but I think when we look at the fundamentals in the economy, that's telling us that things should continue to do well. Are things going to be quite as good as they were earlier this year when we had that big boost with the consumer spending and the stimulus money that was sitting in people's accounts and they were just trying to find a way to spend it? Probably not. But we still have good consumer strength. Household balance sheets still look good."

Corporate headlines added more juice to the rally.

Good news for Boeing investors. China's aviation authority issued an airworthiness directive on the 737 MAX that will help pave the way for the jet's return to service in China. The plane has been grounded there for almost three years, following two deadly plane crashes. Shares of Boeing rallied 7-1/2 percent.

Kroger had an even better day. Demand for groceries - boosted during the health crisis - remains strong. The supermarket chain boosted its full-year sales and profit outlooks. The stock surged 11 percent.

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