Omicron fears sink US stocks

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US stocks fell as the market opened on Monday after a weekend of spiking Coronavirus cases, including that of the new variant Omicron, across the US, raising concerns about another pandemic-driven slowdown, The Hill reported.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened with a loss of more than 600 points, falling 1.7 per cent on Monday after the opening bell. The S&P 500 fell 1.6 per cent, while the Nasdaq fell 1.5 per cent.

Energy, financial, industrial, and technology sector companies led Monday’s losses, reflecting a range of headwinds facing those industries.

Spiking Covid-19 cases could lead to declines in travel and consumer activity, a threat to energy and financial firms, while construction and broader investment could be limited by higher interest rates and a broader economic slowdown, the report said.

While health experts are still assessing how the Omicron variant differs from the previous strains of Coronavirus, a recent surge of Covid cases has already forced cancellations, postponements, and modifications across the US economy.

Broadway performances and concerts have been postponed and restaurants in several cities have scaled back to delivery only or heightened requirements for indoor dining, the report said.

Even so, some travel and hospitality sector companies — which typically suffer losses amid Covid spikes — rose in the face of Omicron fears, including American Airlines and Carnival Cruise Line. Stocks that typically rallied on health concerns also rose on Monday, including Pfizer, Moderna, Netflix, Electronic Arts and Match.

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