US stocks were higher for a second consecutive day as big tech names rallied and as concerns over the newly discovered COVID-19 omicron variant waned while data showed that the country's trade deficit narrowed.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 1.4% to 35,719.43, the S&P 500 was up 2.1% to 4,686.75 and the Nasdaq Composite 3% higher to 15,686.92 on Tuesday. Technology led the sectors, followed by consumer discretionary, with all sectors in the green.
The 10-year US Treasury yield rose 4.3 basis points to 1.48%.
Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, told Agence France-Presse that the new variant is 'almost certainly' not more severe than delta.
"The most serious concerns about the Omicron variant of coronavirus, which had triggered [last week's] price slide, have evaporated for the time being," Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch said in a research note. "Though South Africa, where the variant was discovered, has reported a significant rise in new cases, the disease appears to be milder than with the previously dominant variant."
West Texas Intermediate crude oil jumped 3.2% to $71.73 a barrel.
In economic news, the US international trade deficit narrowed sharply to $67.11 billion in October from an $81.44 billion gap in September, fueled by a surge in exports.
The IBD consumer sentiment measure for December rose to 48.4 from 43.9 in November, breaking a five-month string of declines but remaining below the breakeven point. Any reading below 50 indicates more pessimism than optimism.
Redbook reported that US same-store retail sales were up 15.3% year-over-year in the week ended Dec. 4, easing from a 21.9% gain in the prior week. Redbook noted that some retailers are seeing the typical pause in sales that comes in the first week of December between Black Friday and the buildup right before the holidays, but online shopping and sales of gift cards remain solid.
In company news, Morgan Stanley said Intel's (INTC) plans to publicly list its Mobileye self-driving car unit in mid-2022 is a "significant positive" for the group. Shares of Intel jumped 3%, among the highest on the Dow.
Apple (AAPL) shares surged 3.5% after receiving a boost to its price target from Morgan Stanley's Katy Huberty, who expects the iPhone maker's stock to benefit from "a flight to quality" in 2022, "especially as upside from new product categories gets priced in."
Silicon Motion Technology (SIMO) pushed as much as 16% higher on Tuesday, touching a best-ever $88.05 a share, after the solid-state storage devices firm Tuesday authorized a new, $200 million stock buyback program over the next six months.
MongoDB (MDB) raced 16% higher after topping analyst estimates with both its fiscal Q3 results and its Q4 forecast. The database company also raised its FY22 guidance above Street views.
In the metals markets, gold was up 0.3 to $1,784.90, silver was up 1.2% to $22.53 an ounce and copper rose 0.1% to $4.34 per pound. Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 2.1% to $51.59 and the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 1.4% to $12.22.