“The next couple of weeks could be pretty nervy for markets,” wrote Nohshad Shah, co-head of interest rates sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, at Goldman Sachs.
“It should be stressed that at this stage we have very little laboratory evidence and very limited real world data,” Shah said in a note on Saturday.
Fear of the unknown
In a technical brief, the WHO said the overall global risk related to the new Omicron variant “is assessed as very high.” Further research is needed to understand its potential to escape immunity, the agency added, but despite the uncertainties, it is “reasonable to assume that currently available vaccines offer some protection against severe disease and death.”
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%.
US trading ended around lunchtime on Friday, 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.
-— Rob North, Anneken Tappe, Christina Maxouris and Laura He contributed to this report.