Amid fears the U.S. Fed might raise interest rates & the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring the new Corona-variant, “Omicron”, “a variant of concern”, western stock markets took a big hit over the weekend.
More on Omicron🦠 Early signs show Omicron to be highly transmissible, better able to evade COVID vaccines, & has an unusually high number of mutations. Several dozen cases have been fully identified so far in South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong, Belgium & Israel. While the U.S. still hasn’t detected any Omicron cases, countries in Europe have confirmed cases, including the U.K. & Germany.
The U.S.🌎 U.S. stocks tumbled on Friday. The S&P 500 dropped 2.3%, the worst day for the index since February. The price of oil fell about 13%, the biggest decline since early in the pandemic, amid worries of another slowdown in the global economy. Even Bitcoin got caught up in the selling, which dropped 8.4%.
Europe🌍 The Stoxx Europe 600 index closed down 3.7%, its worst day since June 2020. The FTSE 100 in the U.K. dropped 3.6%, while major stock indexes in France and Spain fell about 5%.
Why is this important🤔 Investors are worried that supply chain issues that have impacted global markets for months will worsen. Along with supply chain issues, equity markets in the near term will closely follow developments around Omicron, inflation data, & Central Banks’ policies.