Omicron what? Dow Jones shakes off fears, surges 680 points

The pending recertification of Boeing’s 737 MAX in China, along with lessening concerns about the Omicron variant, resulted in the Dow Jones more than making up for yesterday’s big sell-off.

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This article was originally published on All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

Investors are breathing a sigh of relief on Dec. 2 following yesterday's Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI) 462-point decline. At 2:11 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones is up 680 points, or 2% higher, as investor worry about the Omicron variant of the coronavirus fades. Today's gains are broad, with 26 of the Dow Jones' 30 component stocks, including Boeing, higher today. 

Today's gains are led by aerospace giant Boeing (NYSE: BA), one of yesterday's worst performers. Shares are up more than 5% on both the reduced fears that Omicron will lead to broad travel bans and news that Chinese regulators are set to recertify the 737 MAX for commercial operation in that country. 

Following on Boeing's heels are payments and credit card giants Visa (NYSE: V) and American Express (NYSE: AXP), with shares up more than 4% on a hopeful outlook about the recovery of global travel and spending. Shares of yesterday's biggest loser, (NYSE: CRM), are also up almost 3% today following yesterday's double-digit drop after giving underwhelming guidance for its fourth quarter. 

Today's worst-performing Dow stock is Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), down more than 1% on rumors that demand for the iPhone 13 is falling. 

Boeing investors hopeful on China and continued travel recovery

Word first got out a couple of weeks ago that the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) was getting closer to letting the company's flagship, narrow-body jet return to commercial service. But a report in The Wall Street Journal on Thursday offered more detail, including what looks like a complete list of changes it requires Boeing to make. That's a serious step toward recertification that would also likely lead to a big jump in orders for Boeing aircraft to service Chinese markets after a multiyear freeze on sales to Chinese operators. 

Boeing's gains, exceeding most stocks today, weren't just a product of good news out of China. Like the other consumer and travel-related companies that gained sharply today, investors are also betting that travel and spending will continue to trend higher, and the initial worries about the Omicron coronavirus variant are probably overdone. 

Omicron bull market?

It seems that many investors believe that to be the case, with most of yesterday's biggest losers and many of the Dow Jones stocks that fell yesterday reporting gains. These include Visa and American Express, which have seen most of their in-country payment volume recover and surge past 2019 levels. However, both have seen cross-border transactions from travel continue to lag pre-COVID numbers. Investors also sent bank stocks up today, with Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) up more than 2.5% on hopes for continued economic health and the potential that interest rates will move higher sooner rather than later. That's a positive for lenders. 

Shares of Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) and Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS) also gained more than 2.5% today, on expectations that businesses will continue to buy heavy equipment, and consumers will continue to spend and increasingly travel, ideally to Disney resorts and theme parks. Home Depot (NYSE: HD), one of yesterday's biggest winners, gained another 2% today as investors remain convinced that the home improvement giant will continue to win customers looking to improve their current home or update the home they just bought. Housing demand continues to remain sky-high, a positive indicator for the home improvement giant's prospects. 

This article was originally published on All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

Jason Hall owns shares of Visa and Walt Disney. American Express is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. JPMorgan Chase is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and has recommended The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Apple,, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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