Stock futures dipped Wednesday morning a day after the major averages rebounded from a three-day losing streak spurred by fears about the omicron Covid variant.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 40 points. S&P 500 futures dipped 0.1% and Nasdaq-100 futures fell 0.3%.
Trading is expected to be thin for the remainder of the week ahead of the holidays.
Caterpillar rose 1% in premarket trading after Bernstein upgraded the stock, saying the machinery maker will be a key beneficiary of a rebound in global growth.
Tesla shares gained 3% in premarket trading after Elon Musk said in a podcast that he had reached his goal of selling 10% his shares for tax reasons.
December, normally the calmest month for markets, has so far been the most volatile month of 2021, according to Bespoke Investment Group that looked at the S&P 500’s average absolute daily change since 1953.
All three of the major averages jumped on Tuesday in a relief rally following days of weakness on omicron fears. The Dow added 560 points, or 1.6%. The S&P 500 rose 1.8% and the Nasdaq Composite gained 2.4%. The S&P 500 snapped a three-day losing streak that saw the benchmark lose more than 3%, its worst loss during similar time periods since September. The Nasdaq tumbled nearly 4% in the three days through Monday, its worst such stretch since May.
Travel-related stocks popped on Tuesday as investors put Covid-related fears aside and bought the dip. Delta Air Lines rose 5.9%, United Airlines gained 6.9% and Carnival added 8.7%.
Those stocks were slightly higher again in Wednesday premarket trading.
President Joe Biden in a press conference Tuesday urged Americans to get their booster shots, saying those who have are “highly protected.” He also reiterated that the U.S. will not bring back the strict lockdowns that were imposed at the start of the pandemic. Earlier Tuesday, Biden said his administration will deploy 1,000 medical personnel from the military to back up hospitals facing a surge of Covid patients and that it will purchase 500 million at-home Covid tests that will be free to Americans through a website starting next year.
With the delta variant, “the economy was able to sustain better than most expected,” said Keith Buchanan, portfolio manager at Globalt Investments. “A lot of people will say that the economy held up because there was more monetary stimulus. Coming into Omicron, that’s not necessarily the case as much as it was in Delta and this is another test of a different flavor. It’s testing if the economy and the market can hold up given the much less accommodative fiscal and monetary policy.”
Investors are looking forward to economic data being released Wednesday morning, including new home purchases, existing home sales, GDP and consumer confidence numbers.