On The Money — Stocks set new highs amid omicron surge

Happy Monday and welcome to On The Money, your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.

Today’s Big Deal: Wall Street is shaking off the omicron variant with another record-setting rally. We’ll also look at a wave of canceled flights and COVID-19 testing issues.

But first, we hope those who celebrated Christmas this weekend had a happy and healthy holiday.

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For The Hill, I’m Sylvan Lane. Write me at slane@thehill.com or @SylvanLane. You can reach my colleagues on the Finance team Naomi Jagoda at njagoda@thehill.com or @NJagoda and Aris Folley at afolley@thehill.com or @ArisFolley.

Let’s get to it.

S&P sets record after Christmas 

The S&P 500 index closed at a new high Monday as stocks rose on hopes of a limited economic setback from the omicron variant.

The S&P ended Monday at a historic high of 4,791.19, the 69th record-breaking close of 2021, after gaining roughly 1.4 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed with a gain of 351 points, rising 1 percent, and the Nasdaq composite rose roughly 1.4 percent.

After weeks of volatility driven by the omicron variant, the market saw gains across most sectors, including technology and energy. Even so, shares of airlines, cruise lines, and other travel sector companies took losses as surging cases continued to pose challenges for the hard-hit sector.

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LEADING THE DAY

Another 1,000 US flights canceled Monday 

More than a thousand U.S. flights on Monday have been canceled as the COVID-19 omicron variant continues to cause disruptions and delays nationwide, wreaking havoc on holiday travel plans.

  • FlightAware's live cancellation and delay statistics have recorded 1,011 canceled flights into, out of or within the U.S. as of Monday afternoon as well as more than 2,400 delays. 
  • The company's "Misery Map" currently places the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport as being the most "miserable" in the U.S., with the highest volume of canceled or delayed flights.

Joseph Choi breaks it down here.

CRATE SUCCESS

Holiday sales rise 8.5 percent despite omicron, supply woes

Holiday sales skyrocketed this year despite a series of setbacks that affected the world of retail, according to The Associated Press.

  • Sales over this year's holiday season grew at the fastest pace in 17 years and increased by 8.5 percent since last year. 
  • Additionally, holiday sales were up 10.7 percent from the 2019 holiday season, Mastercard Spending Pulse found. 
  • The spending measure, which tracked consumer spending from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24, found that clothing and jewelry saw the largest increases.

Good to Know 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is cutting its recommended isolation time for people infected with COVID-19 to five days, down from the current 10, as long as they are asymptomatic.

Here’s what else have our eye on:

  • The world’s 10 costliest weather disasters of 2021 caused more than $170 billion worth of damage, according to a new report from a U.K.-based aid group. 
  • Polish President Andrzej Duda on Monday vetoed a bill that would have required Discovery, a U.S. media company, to forgo its controlling share of a Polish television network.
  • A Moscow court fined Google nearly $100 million Friday over the company's alleged failure to remove content banned by the government, the largest penalty of its kind yet issued as Russia continues to apply pressure on big technology firms.

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and check out The Hill’s Finance page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.