December 26, 2018 | 3:34pm
| Updated December 26, 2018 | 4:49pm
Santa Claus came a little late this year — but Wall Street is smiling anyway.
The Dow Jones industrial average surged 1,086.25 points on Wednesday — its biggest single-day point gain ever — more than offsetting the 653-point drop in Monday’s shortened session, which had made history as the worst-ever Christmas Eve for the blue-chip index.
Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq joined in Wednesday’s rebound, climbing 5 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively. Nevertheless, analysts warned that the gains don’t necessarily spell the end of the volatility that has plagued markets in recent months.
“The longer investors are negative, it becomes like a coiled spring,” Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Cresset Capital, told The Post, referring to Wednesday’s quick rebound.
“Incremental good news is going to be taken as fantastic,” he added.
Even with Wednesday’s gains, the Dow is down 7.4 percent for the year, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are down 8.3 percent and 5 percent, respectively.
“We’re in for a relief rally that could last a couple days … But that doesn’t change the overall trend,” Peter Cardillo, chief market economist with Spartan Capital Securities in New York, told The Post.
Wall Street was juiced early Wednesday after Mastercard reported that this year’s holiday shopping season was the strongest in six years, with shoppers shelling out $850 billion for gifts.
“This shows the US consumer remaining resilient despite market headlines,” Mona Mahajan, US investment strategist at Allianz Global Investors, told The Post.
Also helping Wednesday’s rally was roughly 8 percent jump in oil prices following weeks of steep declines.
Tech stocks, which have been battered in recent weeks on privacy concerns, also got a boost.
But with an absence of solid economic data until the new year, analysts were hesitant to say the rebound would continue for the last few trading days of the year.
“Emotion doesn’t take a bear market and turn it into a bull market,” Ablin said.
“For this rally to represent the bottom, we would need help from other fundamental measures,” he added.
The Labor Department will report jobs figures on Jan. 4, and companies will start reporting their fourth-quarter earnings soon thereafter.
Wednesday’s rally came on the heels of a Monday rout that developed as investors struggled to decipher a flood of messages from Washington and ultimately decided to put their cash on the sidelines instead.
Monday’s sell-off, which had both the Dow and S&P 500 flirting with bear territory, followed a bizarre Sunday night tweet from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin in which he said he called the chief executives of the six largest banks in the US and was assured they have “ample liquidity.”
The tweet, while said to be well-intentioned, had the opposite effect, leading many to wonder why the calls were necessary at all.
Adding fuel to Monday’s fire were tweets from President Trump, who continued his attacks against the Federal Reserve, claiming the central bank is “only problem our economy has.”
Discord in Washington — which now also includes a partial government shutdown —made already skittish investors run for the exits on worries over Mnuchin and Powell’s fates in DC.
But Kevin Hassett, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said their jobs were safe.
“The president has voiced policy differences with Jay Powell, but Jay Powell’s job is 100 percent safe,” Hassett told the Wall Street Journal (paywall) Wednesday.
”I am highly confident that the president is very happy with Secretary Mnuchin,” he said in a Fox Business interview.