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Stocks gain on hopeful Omicron study, Tesla soars

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Stocks gained for a second straight session Wednesday, after upbeat economic data and a positive study suggesting reduced risks of hospitalization and severe disease in people infected with the Omicron variant.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq both gained more than a percent, while the Dow rose by three quarters of a percent.

Wednesday's solid gains come as volatility has ratcheted up in the last month of 2021.

Kevin Mahn, the president and chief investment officer at Hennion & Walsh Asset Management said he thinks there are three factors that have contributed to the volatility:

"No. 1, of course, the Omicron variant and what the government may or may not do as a result of the spread of that particular variant of COVID-19. Secondly, we heard from the Federal Reserve last week, what they intend to do with respect to tapering and interest rates next year, although the market isn't necessarily sold that they're going to turn as hawkish as they said they were. And then, lastly, it's the end of the year, it's been a great three-year run now for stock investors. And some of those investors may have actually realized some of those gains they've experienced and are going to take that cash and redeploy it into different areas for 2022."

Gaining big on Wednesday were shares of Tesla, boosting the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. CEO Elon Musk said in an interview that he has sold "enough stock" following several weeks of share sales by the billionaire. The stock finished up 7.5%.

The benchmark S&P 500 is now up about 24.5% so far in 2021.