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US stocks opened higher on Tuesday, riding a holiday week wave boosted by less onerous rules on coronavirus infections that should offer help for staff-challenged businesses.

The travel sector was the big winner, with airlines regaining ground lost in the prior session after thousands of flights were canceled over the Christmas holiday weekend, largely due to worker shortages caused by the new Omicron variant of Covid-19.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday cut the isolation period for asymptomatic Covid-19 cases in half to five days "followed by five days of wearing a mask when around others."

Investors and economists already were feeling confident the newest strain of the virus would have limited impact on the economy, and the CDC guidelines added to the upbeat feeling and the "Santa Claus rally" during the holiday week.

"That recommendation will reduce some of the pressure of staffing shortages, which in turn is feeding into the market's belief that the economic impact of the Omicron variant is going to be short-lived," said analyst Patrick J O'Hare.

"In all likelihood, though, the true catalyst for the positive disposition in the futures market is pure momentum."

About 30 minutes into the trading session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.6 percent to 36,501.88.

The S&P 500 which scored two straight record closes was on its way to a third, gaining 0.3 percent to 4,805.57, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added a little over 0.1 percent to 15,893.71.

Leading airlines like United and Delta jumped two percent or more amid relief their staffing issues would become more manageable.

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