U.S. stock futures were slightly higher Tuesday morning as equities looked to build on record highs in the final week of the year.
Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average added about 17 points, while those for the S&P 500 gained 0.1% and the Nasdaq 100 were up 0.3%.
The move in futures comes after stocks rallied in Monday’s regular session, with the S&P 500 rising roughly 1.4% to close at a record high. The Nasdaq Composite rose 1.4%, while the Dow climbed about 352 points.
Markets continued to look to pandemic news for direction.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Monday that it was shortening its isolation recommendation for people who test positive to five days from 10, if those people do not have symptoms.
Research out of South Africa also indicated that omicron infections can help boost immunity to the earlier delta strain of Covid.
Pharmaceutical stocks dipped in early trading following the relatively optimistic news on the pandemic. Moderna slipped 1.1% and Pfizer was marginally lower in light premarket trading Tuesday morning.
Stocks dipped in late November, in part because of the rise of the omicron variant of Covid-19, but have since rebounded as governments have largely shied away from reinstating lockdowns and strict social distancing measures.
Airline stocks did struggle on Monday, however, as the spread of the virus led to hundreds of flight cancelations around the Christmas holiday. Apple also announced that it was closing its New York City stores to customers due to the spike in Covid cases.
Stocks tend to rise in light trading during the final days of the year, often called the “Santa Claus rally.” However, many Wall Street pros predict relatively small gains for stocks in 2022 after two strong years.
“If you look around Wall Street, you see very tame expectations, and it’s probably a reflection that we’re probably pretty late in the cycle,” Jim Lacamp, senior vice president at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, said on “Closing Bell.”
In addition to the S&P 500’s record close, the Dow is within 1% of its intraday all-time high, while the Nasdaq is about 2% below its high-water mark.
For the year, the S&P 500 is up 27.6% for the year and the Nasdaq is up 23.1%. The Dow is the laggard, up 18.6%.
It is a slow week overall for economic data, but investors will get a look at home prices on Tuesday when the October reading for the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index is released before the bell.