By Medha Singh
(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures inched higher on Monday, boosted by megacap companies, while hundreds of Omicron-driven flight cancellations kept investors on edge at the start of this year’s final trading week.
Travel-related stocks, typically sensitive to news around the coronavirus, slid after U.S. airlines called off many flights for a third day on Sunday as surging COVID-19 cases forced Christmas weekend travelers to change plans.
Delta Air Lines United Airlines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines dropped between 1.5% and 2.8% premarket. Cruise operators Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Royal Caribbean and Carnival Corp fell 2%-2.8%.
The S&P 500 closed at a record high on Thursday, as upbeat news related to the Omicron coronavirus variant calmed investor nerves over the highly infection strain’s economic impact after it upended markets earlier this month.
Wall Street’s three main indexes are eyeing a third straight yearly gain, with the benchmark S&P 500 on track to close out the year 25.8% higher. The Dow is set to rise 17.5%, while the Nasdaq is looking at a 21.4% climb.
At 6:12 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 25 points, or 0.07% and S&P 500 e-minis were up 9 points, or 0.19%.
Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 42.5 points, or 0.26% as megacap companies Tesla Inc and Microsoft Corp and Meta Platform firmed between 0.5% and 1%.
Looking ahead, thinner-than-usual trading volumes ahead of New Year could make markets susceptible to volatile moves.
(Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)