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Wall Street Opens Sharply Lower as Covid Concerns Flare Again; Dow Down 800 Pts

Stock MarketsNov 26, 2021 09:49AM ET
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© Reuters.

By Geoffrey Smith 

Investing.com -- U.S. stocks tumbled at the opening of a holiday-shortened session on Friday, as concerns about a new and potentially vaccine-resistant variant of Covid-19 spooked global markets, triggering a rush to reactivate pandemic trades.

By 9:40 AM ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 791 points, or 2.2%, at 35,013 points. The S&P 500 was down 1.6% and the Nasdaq Composite was, outperforming, down only 1.0%. 

There were few movements across the board that weren't attributable - directly or indirectly - to the news that South African scientists had identified a new variant of the virus, known as 1.1.529, the first one to have displaced the delta variant as the most common strain in the regions where it has been identified. Travel, leisure and hospitality stocks were predictably hard hit, with cruise line stocks all falling over 10%, the Dow Jones Airlines index falling 7.2%, and the Dow Jones Hotels index falling 7.5%.

Although many new variants have been discovered over recent months, the new one differs in having a protein spike so different from the original strain (which today's vaccines were designed to combat) that health regulators fear that current vaccines may not be effective against it. So far, there is no evidence either way to suggest whether that is the case or not. 

Despite the uncertainty over the effectiveness of current vaccines, the companies behind those drugs all profited immediately from the shift in sentiment. Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) stock, which had fallen by over 50% from its August peak at one stage earlier this month, rebounded by 22%. BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) stock also surged 19% and Novavax Inc (NASDAQ:NVAX) stock rose 9.0%. In part, the move was due to confidence that the biotech companies will be able to address even a new variant with a relatively straightforward tweak to their drugs.  The CEOs of both Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Moderna were both reported as saying that such a fix ought to be possible within three months. 

That may come too late, however, to benefit retailers - notably fashion chains - whose holiday season was already in question after profit warnings earlier in the week. Gap stock and Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN) stock both fell another 4% each, while Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) stock lost another 6.8%.

One pharma stock not to benefit from a Covid bounce was Merck (NYSE:MRK) stock, which fell 5.0% despite the possibility of an FDA panel imminently recommending its antiviral drug molnupravir for emergency use. The panel is due to meet later Friday. 

Oil and gas stocks were hit by the slide in oil prices as the market moved to price in another setback to the recovery in global oil demand. U.S. crude futures were down 8.3% at $71.91 a barrel, their worst one-day drop of the year, dragging down Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) stock by 5.8% and Chevron (NYSE:CVX) stock by 3.8%.

Aside from biotechs, the only stocks posting gains were largely those which had done so early in the pandemic, and which have become increasingly heavily shorted as the emergency has receded. Zoom Video (NASDAQ:ZM) stock rose 8.7% while Peloton Interactive (NASDAQ:PTON) rose 5.4%.

Wall Street Opens Sharply Lower as Covid Concerns Flare Again; Dow Down 800 Pts
 

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Comments (25)
Christos Rousakis
Christos Rousakis Nov 26, 2021 1:13PM ET
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all is fake from monday all is ok vaccine is ok and new rally again but whos pay for this only musk ha ha soros ha ha you lose your money this is America stock ha ha
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Nov 26, 2021 1:11PM ET
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Science is not fake. Lots of scientists are. Hence ‘science’ change from ‘theory’ into theorem only when proven true.
Karl Fektus
Karl Fektus Nov 26, 2021 12:55PM ET
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How many Qanon nutjobs desperately seeking someone to blame via confirmation can we fit in one comment section? ScIeNcE is FaKe!
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Nov 26, 2021 12:55PM ET
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Only thorem is true. Everything else can be fake. A thoery has 50% chance false down the road.
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Nov 26, 2021 12:55PM ET
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U d# scientists come up with ‘theories’ and stick it to the public. When a thoery is proven true, the media is silence if it doest fit their naratives
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Nov 26, 2021 12:55PM ET
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Any high school kid can tell the dif between thoery vs theorem unless u go to a # school.
Trevor Roberts
LimitUp Nov 26, 2021 12:55PM ET
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Only Dems watching news even know what Quanon is even supposed to be. Im a conservative all my life and have no idea what it really is except a talking point.
bret lafrance
bret lafrance Nov 26, 2021 12:42PM ET
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Dudes, fools will substitute one scam for another... it's not covid, it's biden, it's not biden, it's trump, all foolish behavior... the market makers have been laying down this programmed drop for weeks, watch the vix. try buying one share as a limit order, put in a price below ask, if the market making bias is down, it will be instantly filled, and you should know not to buy any more, if it is up, you won't get it until you raise your price... they will pump it too, watch out for that, they make money by making you buy high and sell low
Byedin Youlost
Byedin Youlost Nov 26, 2021 12:23PM ET
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The scam continues. My god when will people wake up
Joe Messeri
Joe Messeri Nov 26, 2021 12:23PM ET
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Usually when theu step off the trains and into the ovens Some never
Joe Messeri
Joe Messeri Nov 26, 2021 12:00PM ET
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Covid strains lol hahahaTry investors know know the Byeden money printing show is over and thr great rug pull is about to start happening as no one with a brain wants to buy stocks 50X multiples
Josh OBarr
Josh OBarr Nov 26, 2021 11:42AM ET
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they're calling this strain Gilisane
Josh OBarr
Josh OBarr Nov 26, 2021 11:42AM ET
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*Ghislaine
John Avenetti
John Avenetti Nov 26, 2021 11:34AM ET
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complete lies regarding a complete scam.
Ricky Singh
Ricky Singh Nov 26, 2021 11:30AM ET
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I bet they will come Monday saying this new strain can be contained with existing vaccinations . Retail investors bleed and institutions buying big at lows
Picaso Fish
Picaso_Fish Nov 26, 2021 11:30AM ET
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nah, not an scam. It's about the boomers, there retiring and there spending is dropping by 40% That means the central banks need to create large amounts of new $ to prevent deflation. ????possible alternate explanation
Ricky Singh
Ricky Singh Nov 26, 2021 11:28AM ET
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Corrupts back again with new strain !
neang aee 냥에
neang aee 냥에 Nov 26, 2021 11:24AM ET
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We all need to understand that vaccination is useless for covid
John Avenetti
John Avenetti Nov 26, 2021 11:24AM ET
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yeah it's for population control
Paul Richard
Paul Richard Nov 26, 2021 11:24AM ET
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yeah hospitals are getting full of unvaccinated. Several neighbors in our area died recently from covid due to anti-vax stand.
John Avenetti
John Avenetti Nov 26, 2021 11:24AM ET
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Youre living in a GD fantasy world Dick. take off the blindfold.
Mox Mox
Mox Mox Nov 26, 2021 11:20AM ET
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this is just a excuse for people to sell. they cannot day they are afraid of the bubble. they need to get a scapegoat....COVID ..
Joe Messeri
Joe Messeri Nov 26, 2021 11:20AM ET
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Exactly The party is over
Pwr Strk
Pwr Strk Nov 26, 2021 11:09AM ET
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way to go Biden lowering oil prices with the Fauci virus
Bonney Lake
Bonney Lake Nov 26, 2021 11:09AM ET
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your bozo ex prez was worst, pathetic POS, and some people want him back...
Ron Moorman
Ron Moorman Nov 26, 2021 11:09AM ET
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Personally, I would love to have Trump back. Biden is the most useless president since Jimmy Carter.
Ac Tektrader
Ac Tektrader Nov 26, 2021 11:09AM ET
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Ron, so you support a crook, serial liar, business cheat, and a president who wants to turn America into an authoritarian dictatorship.
jeanfrancois martin
jeanfrancois martin Nov 26, 2021 10:44AM ET
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yeah down because covid... who can believe in that....nice show
Tom Scurlo
Tom Scurlo Nov 26, 2021 10:44AM ET
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If you are in the Market… you don’t even have to go to the theme park to ride the physical roller coaster!!!!
Tom Scurlo
Tom Scurlo Nov 26, 2021 10:44AM ET
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Just ride the Market Coaster instead.
Alex Malmstrom
Alex Malmstrom Nov 26, 2021 10:31AM ET
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Sure, the Dow Jones is down because of some new variant of the virus, lol!
Stan Smith
Stan Smith Nov 26, 2021 10:19AM ET
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The Nu Variant is all by design to create more fear and turmoil in the markets...I suppose tapering will have to be deferred tight?...shucks! Something very big and nasty is coming folks!
James Hilliard
James Hilliard Nov 26, 2021 10:19AM ET
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troops, oinkers, and teachers are going to steal all your money, calling it taxes and freedom.
Jamie An
Jamie An Nov 26, 2021 10:16AM ET
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It smells like a manipulated cheating show. Vaccine is gone for nothing at once? No. only fear fear fear Someone wants fear China? or Biden?
Ankit Goel
Ankit Goel Nov 26, 2021 10:14AM ET
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It's a scam. after two days these fears will go away once retail traders book losses and big institutions enter fresh positions.
Mr Valdas
Mr Valdas Nov 26, 2021 10:14AM ET
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well, cannot say better than this.
Early Mailani
Early Mailani Nov 26, 2021 10:12AM ET
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lebaaayyyyy
York Regent
York Regent Nov 26, 2021 10:04AM ET
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Its a scam, put in simple terms.
Ganesh Shelar
Ganesh Shelar Nov 26, 2021 10:02AM ET
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mutation is common in virus but it is a matter of no worry present vaccine are effective against any mutant strain
Xin Zhang
Xin Zhang Nov 26, 2021 10:02AM ET
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I dare you long the market now with your logic.
True Scotsman
True Scotsman Nov 26, 2021 10:02AM ET
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You are very misinformed on how the mRNA shot works.
John Avenetti
John Avenetti Nov 26, 2021 10:02AM ET
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you're completely wrong
Casador Del Oso
Casador Del Oso Nov 26, 2021 10:01AM ET
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This could be just the beginning.
Jim Divers
Jim Divers Nov 26, 2021 10:00AM ET
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This is not covid related its profit taking. Geez why dont the liberals get off of eveything event being covid related.
Steve Sahlfeld
Steve Sahlfeld Nov 26, 2021 10:00AM ET
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can't control you if they don't scare you
Jim Divers
Jim Divers Nov 26, 2021 10:00AM ET
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Agree
Marcus LL
Marcus LL Nov 26, 2021 10:00AM ET
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If it's not Covid related, then why are ZM, DOCU and MRNA up huge?  And travel stocks down more than the market?
Matius Marv
Matius Marv Nov 26, 2021 9:56AM ET
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