Wall St. retreats on pandemic variant woes as Dow suffers worst day since Oct. 2020

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Wall St. retreats on pandemic variant woes as Dow suffers worst day since Oct. 2020

On Friday, in a thin-volume post-holiday trading session, all three key indices of Wall St. had beaten a hasty retreat with trade-sensitive Dow logging its worst intra-session plunge since October 2020, while travel, banking and energy stocks led the tally of losses following identification of a new pandemic pathogen strain in Southern part of Africa.

In point of fact, S. African Health Ministry was quoted saying in a statement on Thursday night that a new pandemic pathogen variant, which might be more transmissible and might evade the human body’s natural immune response, had been found, while WHO (World Health Organization) on Friday had stated the newly identified strain as a variant ‘of concern,’ casting fresh scorns on investors’ optimism about a quicker-than-anticipated global economic recovery.

Although, it would likely to take weeks to find out whether the newly identified variant could evade acquired immunity obtained through vaccinations, traders seemingly had flagged on a worst-case scenario and turned their tails on riskier assets.

However, defensives alongside healthcare stocks managed to turn a corner with pandemic vaccine-maker Pfizer Inc hitting a record high. Nevertheless, travel and entertainment stocks had borne the heaviest brunt with cruise operators such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean alongside Norwegian Cruise shedding more than 10 per cent, while shares of major US airlines such as Delta Air Lines, American Airlines alongside Delta Air Lines, fell across the board as well.

Wall St. totters; S&P, Dow witness worst session in months

Citing statistics, in the day’s Wall St. wind-down, trade-sensitive Dow dwindled 2.53 per cent to 34,899.34 and benchmark S&P 500 shed 2.27 per cent to 4,594.62 with both benchmarks posting their worst intra-session plunge in months, while tech-heavy Nasdaq was nudged as much as 2.23 per cent lower to 15,491.66.

Meanwhile, addressing to a mass-scale sell-off wave in the day’s Wall Street, a senior portfolio manager at Global Investment in Atlanta, Keith Buchanan said, “It is déjà vu all over again for like the eighth time.

What we understand about this variant could accelerate over the weekend, if there is more concerning news than good news, a lot of people don't want to be holding risk assets on Monday morning, or are afraid of what that could look like Monday morning”.