Stocks decline, gold and bitcoin look to bounce as omicron concerns continue

  • Markets are showing weaknesses as concerns over the efficacy of current vaccines against the omicron Covid variant spark fresh selling.

  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 index is down 1.2%

  • Gold and Bitcoin are seeing slight gains going into mid-day trades

Tuesday is seeing a fresh weakness for the global markets, sending stocks down as investors react to news that omicron, a new variant of the Covid-19 virus, might be problematic in terms of available vaccines proving ineffective.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was down 1.2%, as was the FTSE 100 and France’s CAC 40 index. Germany’s DAX was 1.5% in the red as investors looked to re-evaluate the market sentiment following Monday’s brief upside.

In currencies, the Dollar Index has weakened by 0.63% to 95.73 sliding from Monday’s highs above 96.34. The greenback’s losses have seen slight gains for the euro, with the eurozone currency up by 0.61% to change hands around 1.136. The Sterling is also up slightly, gaining 0.24% in early morning trades to sit in the green at 1.334. The dollar is also down against the yen, clipping Monday’s gains by 0.7% to 112.77.

In commodities, gold has increased as investors look to safe-haven assets. The price of the precious metal is up 0.7% to break above $1,798 per ounce. Silver is also up, gaining 0.2% to $22.85.

Meanwhile, oil has slipped as US crude sheds 3% to 68.06 per barrel while in crypto, Bitcoin (BTC) is just under a percentage gain on the day, and with the 0.3% upmove seeing it stay above $57,200.

The market is showing jitters after comments from Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel, who on Monday said that it’s likely vaccines could be less effective against the highly mutated variant. Investors are likely also rattled given projections that it could be months before the vaccine industry comes up with an omicron-specific vaccine.

While investors are likely to remain anxious, a sell-off like that witnessed last Friday is unlikely given the lack of national lockdowns as seen in 2020. According to investor and CNBC’s “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer, the omicron variant could be of concern. However, he says panic is not an investment strategy.

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