Stocks Rise, Oil Lifts, Bitcoin Slips—and What Else Is Happening in the Stock Market Today

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Wall Street is off to a good start in 2022.

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Stocks were rising Tuesday, with the Dow and S&P 500 on track to open at record highs, as the momentum that saw equities rally into the New Year continued.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average indicated an open 120 points or 0.3% higher, after the index closed at an all-time high of 36,585 Monday. The S&P 500 was on track to open comparably higher after it too closed at a record high in the last session. Futures for the Nasdaq showed the tech-heavy index set to open similarly in the green.

Overseas, London’s FTSE 100 jumped 1.3% as British traders began their first session of 2022 after a holiday Monday. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 outperformed its Asian peers to rise 1.8%.

Momentum from the ‘Santa Claus rally’ that lifted stocks through December and into the New Year—helping the Dow and S&P 500 hit all-time highs on the first trading day of 2022—showed few signs of slowing. Investors remained optimistic about Covid-19 pressures on the economy, even as coronavirus cases hit record highs.

“You would be hard pushed to find a reason not to be in a jubilant mood as an investor as financial markets dished out the Happy New Year,” said Jeffrey Halley, an analyst at broker Oanda. “All signs that the U.S. economy is starting the year in continuing recovery mode.”

Headlines and investor sentiment remain fixated on data surrounding Omicron, the more contagious but apparently milder variant of coronavirus that has led to a global surge in Covid-19 cases. With more than one million people diagnosed with the disease in the U.S. Monday—a global record—worries about the potential impact on the labor market as people self-isolate are beginning to arise. But for now, optimism reigns.

Fears around Covid-19 were more pronounced in Asia, and especially China. While most indexes in the region firmly rose Tuesday, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng barely finished above flat and the Shanghai Composite declined 0.2%.

“The declines in China have come amidst the further extension of lockdowns, with the city of Zhengzhou (the capital city of Henan province) beginning a partial lockdown,” said Jim Reid, a strategist at Deutsche Bank. 

Reid added that, on top of Covid-19 pressures, China’s central bank has moved to drain liquidity. The People’s Bank of China reduced its short-term cash injections Tuesday, leading to the biggest liquidity drain since October, Bloomberg reported.

In commodity markets, crude prices were ticking up ahead of a meeting of the OPEC+ group of oil-producing nations, which includes Russia and Saudi Arabia. Most analysts expect the group to stick to plans to increase production in February by 400,000 barrels a day, as it has done since the summer, as part of a program to unwind pandemic-era curbs.

Futures for international oil benchmark Brent were up 0.3% to around $79.20, with U.S. futures for West Texas Intermediate crude similarly up to around $76.30.

“I do not expect any changes or surprises from OPEC+ this week, but its mere threat should keep a floor under prices this week,” Halley noted.

There was less cheer in cryptocurrency markets, where Bitcoin —the leading digital asset—was down more than 1% to below $46,800, according to data from CoinDesk. Cryptos have largely failed to break out of a decline seen across the past month.

Here are six stocks on the move Tuesday:

Daimler (ticker: DAI.Germany) was up 5% in Frankfurt. The chief technology officer at the auto manufacturer told Reuters that the group expects chip supply to remain scarce through 2022, especially in the first half of the year.

After briefly hitting a $3 trillion market capitalization Monday—the first public company in the world to reach that market value— Apple (AAPL) was up 0.6% in the U.S. premarket, on track to open ahead of that milestone.

Following a 13.5% rally Monday after fourth-quarter deliveries reported over the weekend far exceeded expectations, Tesla (TSLA) was heading up again, up 0.4% in the premarket.

Cruise line Carnival Corp. (CCL) was a standout in the U.S. premarket, up 1.9% after a 6.4% jump Monday. Cruise ship stocks have by and large been sailing upward despite the impact of Omicron on their operations, including a rise in cases among passengers across their fleets.

Despite agreeing to delay by two weeks the rollout of a new 5G service amid aviation safety concerns, AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) stocks were resilient, up 0.6% and 0.5% in the premarket, respectively.

Write to Jack Denton at jack.denton@dowjones.com