Fear of the unknown
“It is not yet clear whether Omicron is more transmissible … compared to other variants, including Delta,” the WHO said.
“[The] WHO is working with technical partners to understand the potential impact of this variant on our existing countermeasures, including vaccines.”
In a note Saturday, Nohshad Shah of Goldman Sachs said that it was too early for analysts to “draw conclusions” just yet.
“It should be stressed that at this stage we have very little laboratory evidence and very limited real world data,” he noted.
But “the [selloff] after Friday’s news about the new variant of concern was a reminder of the heightened macro volatility in the current environment,” Shah, co-head of interest rates sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, wrote. “The next couple of weeks could be pretty nervy for markets.”
In a report Sunday, economists at Morgan Stanley said the emergence of the new strain posed “a near-term risk” to their outlook for Asia.
“To assess the Omicron variant’s impact, we are watching for details on its transmissibility and impact on vaccine efficacy as well as on hospitalizations and mortality rates.”
On Friday, stocks around the world fell as fear gripped global markets. Oil prices plunged more than 10%.
Friday had a shortened trading session in the US that ended around lunchtime, after markets were closed Thursday for Thanksgiving. Traditionally, the half-day session is lower in trading volume, which can exacerbate the swings in the market.
Dan Ives, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities, wrote in a note over the weekend that his team viewed the rout on Friday “as a clear buying opportunity.”
“Ultimately this is not the first or last variant scare,” he said.
“While volatility and news flow around this situation will grab the headlines, our tech [investing] playbook remains unchanged.”
-— Anneken Tappe, Christina Maxouris and Laura He contributed to this report.