Stocks, oil bounce back after Omicron-driven selloff

#Covid-19, #Crude oil, #markets, #Omicron, #stocks

Representative image

World stock markets and oil prices bounced back while safe havens fell Wednesday as investors began December by betting that the recently identified Omicron variant of the coronavirus would not derail the global economy.

The broad gains in stock markets and other risk assets came a day after concerns that existing vaccines would not be effective against Omicron sent Asian stocks to a 12-month low and pushed oil prices down more than 4%.

Global markets also came under selling pressure on Tuesday after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said asset purchases may need to be tapered faster to fight rising inflation.

A report that U.S. private payrolls increased slightly more than analyst expectations last month helped fuel the bullish mood Wednesday.

“Markets are in a tug of war between concerns that the Omicron variant will cause a significant drag on economic activity, juxtaposed with the knowledge that every new wave of COVID cases, and every new variant discovered has left a diminishing impact in its wake,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 1.26% following broad gains in Europe and Asia.

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 210.58 points, or 0.61%, to 34,694.3, the S&P 500 gained 47.67 points, or 1.04%, to 4,614.67 and the Nasdaq Composite added 183.92 points, or 1.18%, to 15,721.61.

“We expect market focus to gradually shift away from Omicron and toward positive growth and earnings trajectory, allowing equities to resume their upward course, and for some of the cyclical markets particularly negatively affected by recent developments, including Japan, the euro zone, energy, and financials, to outperform,” said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 12/32 in price to yield 1.48%, from 1.441% late on Tuesday.

The dollar index fell 0.188%, with the euro up 0.09% to $1.1346.

Oil also rebounded after steep falls in the previous session, ahead of a meeting by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

U.S. crude rose 3.2% to $68.30 per barrel and Brent was at $71.40, up 3.13% on the day.

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