The Columbus Dispatch

Wall Street steadies after latest slide

Stocks rise; investors await assessment of omicron

- Damian J. Troise, Stan Choe and Paul Wiseman

NEW YORK – Wall Street steadied itself Monday after last week’s stock market slide caused by the newest coronaviru­s variant, with investors now waiting for more clues about just how much damage it may do to the economy.

The S&P 500 rose 1.3% to recover more than half of its drop from Friday, which was its worst since February. Bond yields and crude oil also recovered chunks of what they lost in traders’ knee-jerk reaction.

With the benefit of a weekend to mull whether Friday’s sharp market moves were overdone, analysts said the world may be in better position to weather this newest potential wave. Plus, Friday’s tumble for markets may have been exacerbate­d by many traders taking the day off following Thanksgivi­ng.

But while the market steadied itself, uneasiness still hangs over it due to the discovery of the variant now known as omicron. The variant appears to spread more easily, and countries around the world have put up barriers to travel in hopes of stemming it. Still to be seen is how effective vaccines currently available are for the variant, and how long it

may take to develop new omicronspe­cific vaccines.

Given the uncertaint­y, the Dow Jones Industrial Average wavered between a loss of 3 points and a gain of 388 points through the day. It ended with a gain of 236.60 points, or 0.7%, at 35,135.94.

The most powerful lift for stocks came from those that have been able to grow strongly almost regardless of the economy’s strength or pandemic’s pall. Gains for five big tech-oriented stocks – Microsoft, Tesla, Apple, Amazon and Nvidia – alone accounted for more than a third of the S&P 500’s rise. The gains for techorient­ed stocks also helped to drive the Nasdaq composite up 1.9%.

Moderna jumped 11.8% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500, adding to an even bigger gain from Friday, after it said it’s testing the effectiveness of its vaccine against omicron. Its CEO said in a televised interview on ABC that it could take two to three months for a vaccine developed specifically for the variant to begin manufactur­ing.

All told, the S&P 500 rose 60.65 points to 4,655.27, while the Nasdaq added 291.18 points to 15,782.83. The Russell 2000 index of small companies was headed for its own rebound after climbing 1.6% in the early going, but its gains faded by late afternoon. The index slipped 3.96 points, or 0.2%, to 2,241.98.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.51% from 1.49% late Friday, recovering some of its steep slide from 1.64% that day.

The VIX, an index that measures how worried investors are about upcoming drops for the S&P 500, also eased significantly. But it’s not all the way back to where it was before omicron.

Gold for December delivery fell $3 to $1,782.30 an ounce. Silver for December delivery fell 31 cents to $22.80 an ounce, and December copper rose 6 cents to $4.34 a pound.

The dollar rose to 113.73 Japanese yen from 113.19 yen. The euro fell to $1.1274 from $1.1319.

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