(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock
markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window.)
* Dow nears an all-time high
* Tesla CEO Musk nears 10% stake sale pledge
* Rivian slips on delaying deliveries for EV truck and SUVs
* Indexes: Dow rises 0.26%, S&P up 0.12%, Nasdaq dips 0.17%
Dec 29 (Reuters) - The Dow inched towards an all-time high
on Wednesday, on a boost from retailers Home Depot and Nike,
while record daily U.S. COVID-19 infections kept gains in check
amid low liquidity in the final week of the year.
Home Depot and Nike Inc advanced 1% and 2%,
respectively, against the backdrop of recent reports suggesting
holiday sales were strong for U.S. retailers.
Some early studies pointing to a reduced risk of
hospitalization in Omicron cases have helped investors look past
the travel disruptions and powered the S&P 500 to record highs
"The market thinks that Omicron is going to hit just a few
sectors of the whole economy, and most stocks will be good for
that," said Luiz Pacheco, wealth advisor at Brainvest Wealth
Management based in Miami.
Meanwhile, the S&P 1500 airlines index shed
1.3%. Delta Air Lines and Alaska Air Group
canceled hundreds of flights again on Tuesday as daily tally of
infections in the United States surged.
Six of the 11 major S&P sector indexes advanced. The energy
index, though, slipped 0.6% as oil prices slipped on
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 volume turnovers that cause exaggerated price
At 10:05 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
was up 93.90 points, or 0.26%, at 36,492.11, the S&P 500
was up 5.79 points, or 0.12%, at 4,792.14, and the Nasdaq
Composite was down 27.45 points, or 0.17%, at 15,754.27.
The S&P 500 dipped on Tuesday in the lowest trading volume
session of 2021, snapping a four-day winning streak.
As 2021 draws to a close, the main U.S. stock indexes are on
pace for their third straight year of stunning annual returns,
boosted by historic fiscal and monetary stimulus. The S&P 500 is
looking at its strongest three-year performance since 1999.
The focus next year will shift to the U.S. Federal Reserve's
path of interest rate hikes amid a surge in prices caused by
supply chain bottlenecks and a strong economic rebound.
Among other stocks, Rivian Automotive dropped 3.6%
after company announced it would delay deliveries of its
electric pickup truck and sports utility vehicle with big
battery packs to 2023.
Electric-car maker Tesla's CEO Elon Musk exercised
all of his options expiring next year, signaling an end to his
stock sales. Its shares dropped 1.3% but were still on course to
end about 54% for the year.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.16-to-1 ratio
on the NYSE and for a 1.97-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 53 new 52-week highs and no new low,
while the Nasdaq recorded 38 new highs and 240 new lows.
(Reporting by Medha Singh and Anisha Sircar in Bengaluru;
editing by Uttaresh.V)