Futures resume year-end rally in thin trading; Tesla jumps

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(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures rose on Wednesday, as heavyweight Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) gained, while hopes that the Omicron coronavirus variant is less deadly than the previous strain calmed investors amid daily cases in the country hitting a record high.

The electric-car maker added 2.0% in premarket trading as CEO Elon Musk exercised all of his options expiring next year, signaling an end to his stock sales. Its shares are up 54% for the year after a 743% surge in 2020.

Some early studies pointed to a reduced risk of hospitalization for the Omicron variant, compared with the Delta strain — an observation that has helped investors look past the travel disruptions brought about by the pandemic.

U.S carriers Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) and Alaska Air (NYSE:ALK) Group canceled hundreds of flights again on Tuesday as the daily U.S. infections in the United States surpassed the previous peak set in January.

At 6:29 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 8 points, or 0.02%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 3.75 points, or 0.08%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 32 points, or 0.19%.2.0

The S&P 500 dipped on Tuesday in the lowest trading volume session of 2021, snapping a four-day winning streak to record highs.

Typically, the final five trading days of the year and the first two of the subsequent year are seasonally strong for U.S. stocks.

However, market participants warned against reading too much into daily moves as the holiday season tends to record some of the lowest trading volume turnovers that cause exaggerated price action.