Stocks Sink As New COVID Variant Causes Infections Globally
Stocks fell sharply Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly falling more than 1,000 points, as a new coronavirus variant first detected in South Africa appeared to be spreading across the globe.
Photo Insert: The new coronavirus variant from South Africa has created panic in stock markets across the globe.
It added to investor uncertainty about potentially reversing months of progress at getting the COVID-19 pandemic under control.
The S&P 500 was down 2.3%, on pace for its worst day since February. Airlines and other travel stocks sank as health officials in Europe and the UK moved quickly to propose suspending air travel from southern Africa.
The price of oil fell more than 13% amid worries of another slowdown in the global economy. The blue chips were down 950 points by midday trading to 34,857. The Nasdaq Composite was down 2%, Ken Sweet and Paul Wiseman reported for the Associated Press (AP) on Nov. 27, 2021.
A sign of how fearful Wall Street has become was the VIX, the market’s measurement of volatility that is sometimes referred to as the market’s “fear gauge.” The VIX jumped 49% to a reading of 27.75, its highest reading since January before the vaccines began to be widely distributed.
In Europe, energy stocks led the markets lower. The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 2.5 percent. The FTSE 100 in Britain dropped 2.7 percent, while major stock indexes in France, Spain and Italy also fell more than 3 percent.
In Asia, the Nikkei 2225 in Japan closed 2.5 percent lower and the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong closed down 2.7 percent. As several countries including Britain and France rushed to restrict flights from South Africa and other countries in the region, airline stocks dropped.
IAG, the parent company of British Airways, fell nearly 12 percent, the biggest fall in the FTSE 100, Eshe Nelson reported for the New York Times.