Money & The Economy

Stock Market Tumbles as Countries Head Toward Omicron Lockdowns

The stock market tumbled Monday as COVID-19 cases surge worldwide and countries head toward lockdowns triggered by the emerging omicron variant, multiple sources reported.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, an index of 30 large publicly traded companies on the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq, dropped roughly 650 points Monday with Boeing, Goldman Sachs and American Express seeing the biggest losses, CNBC reported.

The S&P 500 fell 1.7% Monday while the Nasdaq Composite, a technology-focused index, dropped 1.5%, CNBC reported.

Countries have begun imposing strict restrictions to combat the global spread of the omicron variant, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The Netherlands announced a lockdown Sunday, halting nonessential shopping and closing bars and restaurants at midnight until mid-January, according to the WSJ. Ireland bars and restaurants will be required to close by 8 p.m. to reduce the spread of the omicron variant, Prime Minister Michael Martin announced Friday.

Growing global infections have worsened concerns that the new variant will further disrupt supply chain bottlenecks that have contributed to soaring inflation, the WSJ reported.

“We’re really seeing Omicron spread like wildfire, and it’s weighing on sentiment,” Esty Dwek, chief investment officer at FlowBank, told the WSJ. “You’re seeing lockdowns instigated in Europe. You’re seeing more and more restrictions and the number of cases is going up so much that even if it’s less severe it could lead to more hospitalizations.”

Oil prices dipped as investors worried that the surging omicron cases could hurt oil demand, the WSJ reported. Brent crude futures, the global benchmark in the oil market, dipped 4.83% to $69.97 a barrel.

Moderna announced Monday that its booster provides significant protection against the omicron variant.

“The dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases from the Omicron variant is concerning to all. However, these data showing that the currently authorized Moderna COVID-19 booster can boost neutralizing antibody levels 37-fold higher than pre-boost levels are reassuring,” Moderna chief executive officer, Stephane Bancel, said in the press release.

Omicron has now been reported in 43 U.S. states and roughly 90 countries, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. Cases in the U.S. soared to over 156,000 on Friday.

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