Governments imposed travel controls after the omicron variant of the coronavirus was found in more countries
Wall Street stocks plunged in a shortened session on Friday amid a global sell-off triggered by a new Covid variant found in South Africa. A new virus contains more mutations to the spike protein and thus could have increased resistance to vaccines. The WHO deemed the new strain a variant of concern. Against this backdrop, the Dow Jones shed 2.53% (the biggest daily loss since February), the S&P 500 lost 2.27% and the Nasdaq slipped 2.23%.
Today in Asia, stocks were down, as investors continued to digest virus-related news, with governments imposing travel controls after the omicron variant of the coronavirus was found in more countries. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo fell 1.63% after the government announced Japan will bar entry by foreigners starting November 30. In Australia, the ASX 200 was steady at 7,279.30. fell 0.5% after a Reuters poll showed the country’s economy contracted 2.7% during the third quarter.
European equities starter the new trading week on a positive note despite the lingering concerns about a new virus found in the UK, Israel, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Australia, and Hong Kong. The pan-European Stoxx 600 edged more than 1% higher in early trade. U.S. stock index futures also moved higher in early premarket trading, ready for recovery following a sell-off, witnessed on Friday.
In currencies, the dollar mostly weighs on the riskier assets on Monday. EURUSD is now back below the 1.1300 figure after a rally towards the 1.1320 area on Friday. Earlier today, ECB’s I.Schnabel deemed as premature any attempt to tighten the current monetary conditions at this stage.
Meanwhile, oil prices recovered to the $75 area after a plunge seen on Friday when the futures fell to the $71 figure amid a global sell-off triggered by a new variant of the virus, with the fall being exacerbated by low market liquidity. Brent crude shed over 12%, to witness the largest one-day drop since April 2020. Later this week, the market focus would shift towards the OPEC+ meeting.