A reported case of the omicron variant was found in the US
Wall Street stocks erased early gains to finish with solid losses overnight as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first case of omicron in the United States. Against this backdrop, travel stocks were the biggest losers, with American Airlines falling nearly 8% and United Airlines slipping 7.5%. On the data front, ADP’s private payroll data showed 534,000 jobs added last month, above expectations of 506,000. Now, investor focus shifts to the key jobs report due on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.34%, the S&P 500 lost nearly 1.2%, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.8%.
Asian stock markets were mixed on Thursday, with fears about the Omicron variant capping gains. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan advanced just 0.2%. Regional equities derived some support from a rise in Chinese real estate shares after reports that Chinese developers plan to sell bonds in China to raise a combined $2.83 billion.
After a strong showing yesterday, European equities opened lower on Thursday, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 falling 1.2% in early trade amid persisting uncertainty surrounding the risks associated with the new omicron variant. At that, the overall risk sentiment remains mixed, with US stock index futures pointing to a recovery in early pre-market trade.
Elsewhere, currency markets have stabilized somehow after a nervous start to the week. The dollar looks mixed versus major counterparts as traders struggle for direction amid lingering concerns over the new coronavirus variant and the prospects for an earlier tapering by the Fed. EURUSD remains capped by the descending 20-DMA while staying mostly above the 1.1300 figure these days, lacking the upside impetus despite the lack of a pronounced demand for the greenback.
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