GLOBAL MARKETS DJIA 34483.72 -652.22 -1.86% Nasdaq 15537.69 -245.14 -1.55% S&P 500 4567.00 -88.27 -1.90% FTSE 100 7059.45 -50.50 -0.71% Nikkei Stock 28082.16 260.40 0.94% Hang Seng 23787.47 312.21 1.33% Kospi 2877.38 38.37 1.35% SGX Nifty* 17147.00 83.5 0.49% *Dec contract USD/JPY 113.43-44 +0.24% Range 113.55 113.08 EUR/USD 1.1320-23 -0.16% Range 1.1345 1.1317 CBOT Wheat Dec $7.736 per bushel Spot Gold $1,776.77/oz 0.2% Nymex Crude (NY) $66.59 -$3.36 US STOCKS
U.S. stocks and global oil prices posted their second significant decline in three trading days, reflecting growing concerns about the economic impact of a new Covid-19 variant.
Losses intensified as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said risks of higher inflation have risen and that it would be appropriate for the central bank to consider wrapping up its tapering of asset purchases more quickly. The Fed wants to end asset purchases before it lifts interest rates, which are near zero.
The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average both fell 1.9%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite slid 1.6%. Major indexes closed higher Monday, rebounding from a sharp selloff last week.
"What's happening today is volatility in the context of what is confirmation from the Fed that they're going to go a little bit quicker combined with a lot of uncertainty around the Omicron variant and what that might mean as far as travel restrictions or potentially lockdowns," said Nick Frelinghuysen, an equities portfolio manager at Chilton Trust.
Investors are trying to parse the risk posed by the new strain. Drugmakers have said existing vaccines might be less potent against Omicron. The lack of concrete information so far is driving uncertainty, and with it, volatility in stock markets. Moderna's chief executive told the Financial Times in an interview published Tuesday that he was skeptical existing vaccines would be as effective against the new variant.
The Nikkei Stock Average was flat at 27826.43 in early volatile trading as gains in auto and machinery stocks helped offset losses in tech. Investors are focusing on any headlines related to the emerging Omicron variant and governments' responses.
South Korea's Kospi was 0.9% higher at 2863.81 in early trade, led by auto, chemical and steel stocks. Stronger-than-expected trade data supported sentiment, helping investors shake off concerns over the Omicron variant of Covid-19 and the U.S. tapering of stimulus. Korean exports expanded 32.1% on year to a monthly record $60.44 billion in November on demand for computer chips, steel and petrochemcials.
Hong Kong stocks were higher in morning trade, showing signs of recovery after three consecutive sessions of decline. The benchmark Hang Seng Index was up 1.3% at 23774.23. KGI Securities said the rebound could be supported in the near term, as China's macroeconomy is likely beginning to stabilize, based on the country's latest PMI data.
Chinese stocks were slightly higher in early trade, supported by gains in oil stocks. The Shanghai Composite Index was flat at 3564.32 and the Shenzhen Composite Index added 0.2% to 2523.22. The ChiNext Price Index gained 0.1% to 3500.44. Oil stocks rose ahead of the OPEC+ meeting on Thursday. Auto stocks may also be in focus following preliminary estimates by the China Passenger Car Association that automobile sales in the country are likely to decline again in November, Commerzbank said.
USD/JPY rose on expectations the Fed may shift to tighten its policy sooner than previously thought, after Fed Chairman Powell said Tuesday the central bank was prepared to quicken the pullback of its easy-money policies. As the Fed puts emphasis on price stability to ensure economic recovery, inflation and other economic data will be closely watched, including U.S. private-sector jobs and manufacturing activity data due later in the day. USD/JPY was at 113.52, up from 113.16 as of Tuesday 5 p.m. Eastern Time.
Gold was higher in early Asian trade, after a volatile session on Tuesday. Gold prices fell after Fed Chairman Powell turned hawkish and signaled that the central bank could start to taper asset purchases faster than expected, Oanda said. Oanda expects the price of the metal to remain volatile and stabilize once it gets through the tough period of a stimulus withdrawal. Spot gold was 0.2% higher at $1,776.77/oz.
Oil prices rose, reversing sharp declines in the previous session after Fed Chairman Powell said the central bank could start to taper asset purchases sooner than expected. Focus is likely to be on the OPEC+ meeting Thursday regarding any changes to its oil supply agreement, IG said. So far, Russia and Saudi Arabia have signaled that there is no need to adjust output as they remain unconcerned on the spread of the Omicron Covid-19 variant, it said. The front-month WTI contract was 1.1% higher at $66.91/bbl, while the Brent crude contract gained 1.4% to $70.18/bbl.
TOP HEADLINES China's Caixin Manufacturing Gauge Slips in November on Weaker Demand Powell Lays Groundwork for Faster End to Stimulus as Inflation Outlook Worsens Stocks and Oil Slide on Omicron Fears, Inflation Concerns Australia Economy Shrank in 3Q But Rebound Already Underway BOJ Policy Board Member Sees Path Toward Higher Prices in Japan Australian Manufacturing Sector Shrugs Off Delta Blues South Korea's Exports Grew For 13th Month in November Fewer People Shopped Over Thanksgiving Weekend Than Last Year Omicron Risks Infecting Vaccinated People but May Not Cause Them Severe Illness Omicron Variant Adds Urgency to Covid-19 Vaccine Talks, WTO Chief Says White House Considering Richard Cordray as Top Fed Banking Regulator Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac to Back Home Loans of Nearly $1 Million Judge Temporarily Blocks Biden Vaccine Mandate Stricter Covid-19 Testing Requirements for Travelers to U.S. Being Considered Iran's Nuclear Enrichment Could Imperil Talks, Diplomats Say GlobalFoundries Says Revenue Rose 56% as Chip Shortage Continues Judge Questions If Purdue's Sacklers Abused Bankruptcy System Salesforce Names Bret Taylor Co-CEO HPE's Quarterly Earnings Blow Past Estimates Merck's Covid-19 Pill Backed by FDA Advisers Jana Partners Urges Zendesk to Ditch Deal for SurveyMonkey Parent Twitter Bans Sharing of Private People's Photos, Videos Without Consent
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 30, 2021 22:15 ET (03:15 GMT)Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.