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S&P 500 in Ugly Close as First U.S. Omicron Case Rattles Markets

Stock MarketsDec 01, 2021 04:06PM ET
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© Reuters

By Yasin Ebrahim

Investing.com – The S&P 500 closed lower Wednesday, after cutting its intraday gains as the U.S. confirmed its first case of the new Omicron Covid-19 strain, triggering a fresh wave of uncertainty across on Wall Street.  

The S&P 500 fell 1.2%, and had been more than 1% higher intraday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.3%, or 462 points, and the Nasdaq slipped 1.8%.

U.S. health officials confirmed Wednesday that the first case of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 was identified in California. 

The individual – who returned from South Africa on Nov. 22 and tested positive on Nov. 29 – was “fully vaccinated and experienced mild symptoms, which are improving at this point,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser.

The news triggered a bout of uncertainty, with the CBOE Volatility Index, or so-called fear index, surging 16%, triggering a wave of selling in the broader market and overshadowed better-than-expected labor market data.      

Private payrolls grew by 534,000 in November, less than the 570,000 in October, but ahead of expectations for 525,000.

The better-than-expected jobs data comes just days ahead of the monthly nonfarm payrolls due Friday, and strengthened expectations for the Federal Reserve to step up the pace of bond tapering.

In his second day of testimony on Capitol Hill, Fed Chair Jerome Powell continued to reiterate that speeding up the taper of bond purchases would be on the agenda at the December meeting, but added that there was no reason for faster taper to be disruptive to markets.

In sign of skittish investor sentiment, utilities, a typically defensive corner of the market, was the only sector to close in the green.

AES Corporation (NYSE:AES), Alliant Energy (NASDAQ:LNT), WEC Energy (NYSE:WEC) were among the biggest gainers.

Health care stocks were pushed higher by a more than 9% surge in Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) after the pharmaceutical company reported a positive update from its mid-stage focal glomerular sclerosis study.

Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA), meanwhile, slumped more than 11% after losing an appeal against a court ruling on patents – used in the making of its Covid-19 vaccine – held by Arbutus Biopharma (NASDAQ:ABUS). Arbutus surged 44%, but was well off its session highs. 

In energy, Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) was in focus after the oil major forecast a doubling of earnings and cash flow by 2027 amid plans to lower capital expenditure.

In tech, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) erased its intraday gains as the broader market reversed. The tech giant was up more than 1% intraday as some on Wall Street highlighted improving signs of improving supply chain pressures that could help the tech maker roll out its latest line of iPhones.

Citing signs of improved wait times for iPhones, UBS forecasts Apple to sell 80 million iPhones in the December quarter, compared with 82 million last year.

Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), meanwhile, fell more than 2% even as Cathie Wood revealed that ARK purchased 1.1 million shares of the social media company on Tuesday, amid optimism about the future of the company under the leadership of new Chief Executive Parag Agrawal.

S&P 500 in Ugly Close as First U.S. Omicron Case Rattles Markets
 

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Comments (56)
Jamie An
Jamie An Dec 02, 2021 12:49AM ET
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Everyone hope thIs variant is just a flu. But if it is not? It should be or we have no option before hundreds millions deaths.
Jamie An
Jamie An Dec 02, 2021 12:49AM ET
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The problem is we don't know yet. and there is possibility it is the worst case.
odunlade funsho
odunlade funsho Dec 02, 2021 12:49AM ET
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Is there hope in future on Shiba Inu
William Smith
William Smith Dec 02, 2021 12:03AM ET
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Gain of function finance Fauci should be tried for an accomplace in the ********of millions.
William Smith
William Smith Dec 02, 2021 12:03AM ET
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The word REUTERS wobt allow is mur- that is then followed by-der.
Joseph Russ
Joseph Russ Dec 01, 2021 9:12PM ET
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Howdy Doodey Fauci
Krishnendu Maity
Krishnendu Maity Dec 01, 2021 8:50PM ET
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Media and government collude with short sellers. Long live redditers.
John Berry
John Berry Dec 01, 2021 8:47PM ET
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Bunch of pansy asses
Jack Zydron
Jack Zydron Dec 01, 2021 8:36PM ET
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shopping time coming and media and some so called doctors should pay consequences for their words. sore throats and everyone is freaking out
HUNG NGUYEN
HUNG NGUYEN Dec 01, 2021 8:33PM ET
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South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said early epidemiological data suggested Omicron was able to evade some immunity, but existing vaccines should still protect against severe disease and death.USA people should be all fine....as with very good vaccines, the economy will be still great ...stocks markets will be reach new record soon moving forward ....after this fake market turmoil....
Parekh Kar
Parekh Kar Dec 01, 2021 8:33PM ET
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but if nothing happens also, stock market is suppose to take a breathervaluations doesn't match the ground reality
Luke Skywalker
Luke Skywalker Dec 01, 2021 8:33PM ET
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Parekh Kar inflation?
CFG fdez
CFG fdez Dec 01, 2021 8:26PM ET
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Some active investors are paranoid. See below
S S Shet
pingo_0070 Dec 01, 2021 8:25PM ET
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oh my God.. utter nonsense .. Market just needs excuse for reacting ...
palmer gossett
palmer gossett Dec 01, 2021 8:05PM ET
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ugliest man God ever created both inside and out
Al Gore
Al Gore Dec 01, 2021 7:57PM ET
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all time high in a week proly
Parekh Kar
Parekh Kar Dec 01, 2021 7:57PM ET
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On what grounds ?
Javier Escamilla
Javier Escamilla Dec 01, 2021 7:46PM ET
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Same old same old, green eow
John Shiels
John Shiels Dec 01, 2021 7:45PM ET
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IVERMECTIN IS NOT EVEN MENTIONED
James Gomez
James Gomez Dec 01, 2021 7:37PM ET
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Nope.......Tapering/Rate hike. I'm just waiting for entry points
Stephen Towne
Stephen Towne Dec 01, 2021 7:19PM ET
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What an ugly dude
Grab My Grape Sack
Grab My Grape Sack Dec 01, 2021 7:19PM ET
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be nice to your father.
William Smith
William Smith Dec 01, 2021 7:19PM ET
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Evil, pure evil.
Pratt Man
Pratt Man Dec 01, 2021 7:18PM ET
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The Fed took away the punch bowl before and the market rallied 70%, until COVID. Sell it all
Degenerate Chad
Degenerate Chad Dec 01, 2021 7:18PM ET
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Never sell puts
Antonio Fernandez
Antonio Fernandez Dec 01, 2021 7:06PM ET
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plandemic is almost over
Katie Belle
Katie Belle Dec 01, 2021 7:00PM ET
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we are doomed
ron king
ron king Dec 01, 2021 6:56PM ET
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retail investors dont sell stocks because of a covid variant. hedge funds use the news to create one just sell they can profit.
ron king
ron king Dec 01, 2021 6:55PM ET
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such a joke. hedge funds preyed on retail today as they created huge selloffs once this presser came out by forcing mass selloffs then panic sells
John Avenetti
John Avenetti Dec 01, 2021 6:54PM ET
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Omicron and Delta (The variants) Rearrange the letters to both words and you have just the right amount to spell......"Media Control". Are you kidding me? Even IF it's a coincidence this is unbelievable.
Eclass Taylor
Eclass Taylor Dec 01, 2021 6:54PM ET
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stop listening to so called gurus. I bet you blindly believe in a rv/grc. I USED to as well but it's not real sorry.
John Avenetti
John Avenetti Dec 01, 2021 6:43PM ET
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this man's face gives me a stomach ache. he is a sick man.
Willie Tee
Willie Tee Dec 01, 2021 6:39PM ET
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This gutless twits were panic selling. Screwed us once again.
 
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