Variant Concerns Work into Markets

Stocks tumbled on Tuesday, reversing Monday’s rebound on Wall Street, as investors reassessed risks associated with the new omicron COVID variant.

The Dow Jones Industrials plummeted 297.08 points, to begin the day at 34,838.86, dragged down by losses in American Express and Coca-Cola.

The S&P 500 index docked 24.35 points to 4,630.92,

The NASDAQ ditched 1.39 points to 15,781.45.

Tuesday’s reversal came after Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel told the Financial Times that he expects existing vaccines to be less effective against the new variant. The CEO told the paper there could be a “material drop” in the current vaccines’ effectiveness against this variant. Bancel told reporters on Monday that it could take months to develop and ship an omicron-specific vaccine. Moderna was down nearly 4%.

Separately, Regeneron said its antibody treatment may have reduced effectiveness against omicron.

Travel shares, which led Friday’s drop and then gained on Monday, were taking hits once again on Tuesday. Expedia Group fell 2%, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings tumbled 2% and American Airlines shares were off by 2.5%.

Bucking the broader market’s trend were some tech stocks. Stay-at-home stock Netflix rose 1.4%, Apple rallied 1% and Tesla gained 1.5%.

Tuesday marks the final trading day of November, which proved to be a confusing month for investors. The Dow is down about 2.7% in November. The S&P 500 is up 0.5% this month and the Nasdaq has rallied 1.7% in November.

Prices for 10-year Treasurys gained sharply, lowering yields to 1.42% from Monday’s 1.53%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices plunged $2.02 to $67.93 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices vaulted $24.60 to $1,809.80 U.S. an ounce.