Stock futures moved higher in early morning trading Monday following Friday’s big sell-off, as investors monitor the latest developments related to the Covid omicron variant.
On Friday, Wall Street suffered its worst day in more than a year amid growing concerns over the new omicron variant of COVID-19. The World Health Organization’s technical advisory group on Friday declared it a “variant of concern,” and several countries imposed flight bans from countries in southern Africa, where the variant was first discovered.
Stocks are coming off a holiday-shortened session Friday in which the Dow posted its worst day since October 2020. The Dow was down 905 points, or 2.5%. The S&P 500 tumbled 2.3% and the Nasdaq Composite slipped 2.2%. The three major indexes were negative for the week.
“The pandemic and COVID variants remain one of the biggest risks to markets and are likely to continue to inject volatility over the next year(s),” Keith Lerner, co-chief investment officer and chief market strategist at Truist Advisory Services, wrote in a Friday note. “It’s hard to say at this point how lasting or impactful this latest variant will be for markets.”
Vaccine makers have announced measures to investigate omicron with testing already underway. While it remains to be seen how omicron responds to current vaccines or whether new formulations are required, Moderna’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton said Sunday the vaccine maker could roll out a reformulated vaccine against the omicron variant early next year.
On top of Covid developments, investors are also anticipating key economic data released this week.
The November jobs report on Friday is expected to show solid jobs growth. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expect 581,000 jobs added in November.
The Institute of Supply Management manufacturing survey is released Wednesday and economists also expect strong results.
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