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Global markets brace for a nervous week over Omicron concerns


CNN, CNNBUSINESS

By Michelle Toh and Mark Thompson, CNN Business

Stocks in Asia fell on Monday while European markets and US futures edged higher as investors continued to digest news about a new Covid-19 variant.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed down about 1.6%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell nearly 1%. European markets rebounded slightly from heavy losses on Friday, when the emergence of the Omicron variant shook global markets. London’s FTSE 100 and France’s CAC 40 gained about 1.5% while Germany’s DAX was up about 1%.

US stock futures were also pointing to a higher open on Wall Street, after the Dow suffered its worst day in over a year on Friday. Oil prices recovered, too. Brent crude, the global benchmark, was up more than 5% to nearly $77 a barrel, and US crude jumped 6% to trade above $72.

“The next couple of weeks could be pretty nervy for markets,” wrote Nohshad Shah, co-head of interest rates sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, at Goldman Sachs.

Analysts are bracing for evidence of how the Omicron variant could endanger more lives, disrupt the global economy and continue to affect markets after the dramatic sell-off on Friday.

“It should be stressed that at this stage we have very little laboratory evidence and very limited real world data,” Shah said in a note on Saturday.

Fear of the unknown

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus has prompted a fresh round of travel restrictions across the world, including a ban by Japan on visits by all non-resident foreign nationals, and raised concern about what may be next in the pandemic.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated the strain as a “variant of concern” and said that multiple studies on it were underway. On Monday, it urged countries to accelerate Covid-19 vaccination efforts among eligible populations, and to “use a risk-based approach to adjust international travel measures in a timely manner.”

In a technical brief, the WHO said the overall global risk related to the new Omicron variant “is assessed as very high.” Further research is needed to understand its potential to escape immunity, the agency added, but despite the uncertainties, it is “reasonable to assume that currently available vaccines offer some protection against severe disease and death.”

In a report Sunday, economists at Morgan Stanley said the emergence of the new strain posed “a near-term risk” to their outlook for Asia.

“However, with a much higher share of vaccinated population, the downside risk to growth could be less than what transpired in mid-2021, provided that the variant is not more challenging than Delta,” they added, referring to the highly contagious Delta variant that was first detected earlier this year.

“To assess the Omicron variant’s impact, we are watching for details on its transmissibility and impact on vaccine efficacy as well as on hospitalizations and mortality rates.”

Markets slammed

On Friday, stocks around the world fell as fear gripped global markets. Oil prices plunged more than 10%.

In the United States, the Dow plummeted 905 points, or 2.5%. The S&P 500 had its worst day since February, closing down 2.3%. For the Nasdaq Composite, it was the worst day since September. The index finished down 2.2%.

US trading ended around lunchtime on Friday, after markets were closed Thursday for Thanksgiving. Traditionally, the half-day session is lower in trading volume, which can exacerbate the swings in the market.

Dan Ives, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities, wrote in a note over the weekend that his team viewed the rout on Friday “as a clear buying opportunity.”

“Ultimately this is not the first or last variant scare,” he said.

-— Rob North, Anneken Tappe, Christina Maxouris and Laura He contributed to this report.

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Comments

33 Comments

    1. ok – not even going to address the “content” of your post, but for Pete’s sake man, save some face and get a clue – go back and read the headline again, slowly and carefully – see the words “in over a year” – yea…. think about you MAGA silly boy

      1. Get a grip dumbkoff (my response to your personal attack)- fourth quarter is at hand- companies are counting their yearly profits- and “outside Wall Street and Big Pharma”- the numbers look bad and the projections even worse as Biden’s heavy handed mandates continue to suck the life outta the working class- which many here know nothing about- haven’t tossed a box or moved a shovel in decades !

    2. You have no clue on how the economy works and certainly not the stock market. While ignorance reigns I will be making some serious cash soon. Keep up the awesome work “Wishy”

      1. I know for a fact (saw it on CNN Business just a few days ago)- that Big Pharma is making mega bucks of this scamdemic- while those on fixed incomes (the elderly-the infirm- those on SS and medicare) are suffering the most under Biden’s Hopey Changey disaster of a Presidency… and to think- he has control of all three levels of Government ! Yeh- keep up the awesome work- I see whole new generations of Republicans being born out of this debacle !

  1. Should have given the Vaccine to the rest of the world, for free.
    (Or waived the patent rights, so third parties could produce generics.)
    Considering the mRna research was funded with public taxes, at publicly funded universities, no one should have become a millionaire from the Vaccine! Let alone billionaires!

        1. You still linking CDC articles? The same CDC that just lost some of its top board members when they pushed through a recommendation on an Alzheimer’s drug that they believed the data clearly showed it should not have been approved? The CDC has lost a whole lot of credibility lately and is definitely not immune from political pressure and pressure from pharmaceutical companies. But keep linking…as that’s your thing I guess.

            1. I believe the numbers… and they show higher death counts and more mandates under Biden and Brown than under anything President Trump produced… that’s what I believe ! I don’t believe anything Fauci the expert says- he’s been proven dangerously wrong from day one.

            2. Only if they look at other media sources. You only post and slant 1 side. That is not how media is supposed to work my friend. Let’s see you post a link from the other viewpoint. I’ll challenge you to link 1 article on a bad side effect of the vaccine (there are plenty you can find, but will you) or how about an article on China not allowing investigators into the Wuhan lab, or how about how the original creator of the mRNA technology said it shouldn’t be used in human vaccines. Lots to choose from. Can you do it?….

              1. Our company has the CNN Wire for world/national news. We have and always will devote our resources to local news. Feel free to link away – if questionable they will be deleted or fact-checked.
                Beyond that, feel free to hang out elsewhere where the news is more to your liking.

                1. Nice try Barney. Again a media organization shows both sides of it truly is a non biased organization. You focus on local news huh? Ok then let’s see 1 article on 1 person in Deschutes county that has had a negative vaccine side effect (hint: there are plenty). Can you do it or are you in lock step with a single narrative?

                2. If someone is willing to go on record/on camera and hopefully their doctor as well to prove the vaccine caused their severe side effects, we are very easy to contact.
                  But if we report it, we darn well will quote officials on how rare severe side effects are. That’s responsible journalism.
                  Why don’t you publish these reports on your own blog or site? The internet is wide open.
                  I think you’d rather just claim the vast conspiracy. Blame is always easier than civil dialogue and striving to come together.

              2. Your challenge seems fair and easy enough for any well balanced news agency… “I’ll challenge you to link 1 article on a bad side effect of the vaccine”. Knowing that Oregonians are subject to the jab like anyone else- this clearly has a local connection- Lets see how that all plays out- I think it’s pretty predictable… as in – it won’t materialize.

        2. Barney Boy, your linked source is the CDC, you can’t be serious? The CDC and their director, Rochelle P. Walensky, have been wrong about COVID every step along this journey and lied to the American public. The CDC is politized and can not be trusted.

        1. I know people that have been sick from this so called “Vaccine” more than from testing positive. Keep your head in the sand. I’ll take the antibodies over your BS vaccine.

  2. Here’s more evidence that this new strain has nothing to do with Biden’s failing economy… from Wallethub last week… “In September, 4.4 million workers in the U.S. resigned” !… “The wave of resignations- including Hawaii, Montana, Utah and Oregon, saw the largest growth in quits in September, according to the US Labor Department.”… The “Great Resignation” is killing the US economy- not this new variant !

    1. Deschutes County workforce has surged past pre-pandemic levels. Yeah, of course you won’t quote any positive news, the wrong guy is president. The black-or-white world is a false picture, always has been/will be.

      1. 11 million jobs in Biden’s economy nobody wants ! Oregon in the top 4 of states who’s workers “quit” in the month of September !! The U6 measure of unemployment nationwide is at over 8% !!! I’m not here to quote positive or negative news… it is what it is- a disaster !!! Impeach this flailing and failing Biden guy and bring President Trump back- or don’t- either way I see decades of Young Republican minds being convinced that Demokant politics is a losing bet. All Good.

      2. I’ve heard that before Barney but I have a real hard time believing it.
        Before the pandemic started building up steam, businesses were operating
        during the same hours that they had been for years, and it was a rarity to
        see a help wanted sign. Now just about every business has a help wanted sign,
        and many are operating at drastically reduced hours because they can’t get
        enough help to operate efficiently. Some fast food restaurants are having
        to close as early as 5 p.m. Heck, even WalMart reduced their hours of operation.

          1. “To attract and retain workers, employers should embrace flexibility, address burnout and create a safe space for Black employees, Mercer’s report concludes.”

            Thanks for the links Barney. They were a good read until I saw the above quoted comment. When I saw the mention of “a safe place for black workers” in the CNBC story, I lost all interest. That was a ridiculous statement, and is not a factor
            in the number of people quitting their jobs, but I guess someone couldn’t pass
            up the chance to toss the race issue into the story.

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