Stocks slightly higher as traders return from holiday

<p><p>Stocks were modestly higher Monday in muted trading after the Christmas holiday, helped by big technology companies like Apple and Nvidia. Energy companies were also helped by a bump up in the price of oil.</p></p><p><p>Trading is expected to be quiet, but potentially volatile, this week as <a href=”″ target=”—blank”>the omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread quickly</a> throughout the U.S. and overseas.</p></p><p><p>However most big investors have closed out their positions for 2021, and are like to hold their ground until next week.</p></p><p><p>The S&amp;P 500 index was up 1.1% as of 12:45 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.7% and the technology-heavy Nasdaq rose 1.1%.</p></p><p><p>The S&amp;P is on pace to close out the year up nearly 27%, a banner year for the stock market.</p></p><p><p>Last week, the S&amp;P 500 set another record as fears ebbed about the potential impact of omicron outbreaks.</p></p><p><p>However, much is still uncertain about the variant, which is spreading extremely quickly, leading to a return to pandemic restrictions in some places.</p></p><p><p>Oil prices rose 2.5%, continuing their climb higher this month. Energy companies like Devon Energy and Diamondback Energy were among the biggest gainers in the S&amp;P 500.</p></p><p><p><a href=”″ target=”—blank”>Hundreds of flights</a> were cancelled in the U.S. over the holiday weekend, with airlines reporting COVID-related staffing problems. <a href=”″ target=”—blank”>France reported</a> more than 100,000 new cases in a daily record.</p></p><p><p>Airline stocks were down on the news, with Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines all falling roughly 1%.</p></p><p><p>Authorities in many countries have doubled down on vaccination efforts as omicron outbreaks complicate efforts stave off fresh lockdowns while hospitals are still under strain from delta variant infections.</p></p><p><p>Asian and European markets were either closed or mostly higher on Monday. London and Hong Kong were closed, while Japan’s stock market closed slightly higher.</p></p><p><p>In other international developments, the Turkish lira fell another 5% against the dollar.</p></p><p><p>The currency has tumbled sharply this year as the Turkish government has tried to invigorate its economy despite chronically high inflation.</p></p><p><p>The government announced a plan last week that would encourage Turks to put their money back into lira bank accounts to prop up the currency.</p></p>