Dow futures decline amid fears of new Covid variant

by Jonathan Adams
Dow Jones

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed more than 400 points, while those for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 both in negative territory

U.S. stock futures declined in overnight trading on Thursday as investors geared up for a shortened trading day amid renewed Covid fears over a new variant found in South Africa.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed more than 400 points, while those for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 both in negative territory.

The downward move in futures came after WHO officials on Thursday warned of a new Covid-19 variant that’s been detected in South Africa. The UK temporarily suspended flights from six African countries due to the variant.

Bond yields tumbled amid the flight to safety. The yield on the benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury note dropped to 1.555%, a sharp reversal after surging above 1.65% earlier this week. Bond yields move inversely to prices.

Asia markets were hit hard in Friday trade, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 plunging nearly 3% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined more than 2%.

Oil prices also tumbled during Asia trading hours, with U.S. crude futures down 2.86% to $76.15 per barrel, while the South African rand weakened 1.6% against the greenback to 16.2141 per dollar.

Markets were closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving, so stocks are coming off of slight gains on Wednesday that stabilised the week’s losses for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite.

Treasury yields have jumped this week, putting pressure on high-growth stocks. The Nasdaq is down 1.3% for the week, while the S&P 500 is up less than 0.1% and the Dow has gained nearly 0.6%.

The final weeks of the year are typically a strong period for the market, with the so-called Santa Claus rally usually creating a happy holidays for Wall Street. The S&P 500 is up 25% year to date (YTD).



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