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US market close: Dow plunges after first US Omicron case

By Joseph Toppe

21:51, 1 December 2021

Omicron variant
The Omicron variant of the coronavirus is affecting the stock markets - Photo: Shutterstock

The major US indices closed Wednesday in the red after the first American case of the Omicron variant was diagnosed in California.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 461.68 points to 34,022.04, after being up more than 520 points at the high of the day.

The S&P 500 lost nearly 1.2% to end at 4,513.04, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.8% to 15,254.05 after rising as much as 1.8% earlier in the session.

In comparison, at mid-day today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 406 points, or 1.2%, while the Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.6% and the S&P 500 followed closely with a 1.5% pop.

Omicron case confirmed in San Francisco

In a joint statement, the San Francisco Health Department and California’s Health Department confirmed the first case of the Covid-19 variant Omicron in San Francisco.

According to the release, the case was discovered by California’s testing and genome sequencing surveillance.

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Winners and losers: Covid-19 variant stalls travel and retail

In the wake of Omicron’s first US appearance, shares for Moderna are down 11.9%, while shares for Pfizer improved 1.8%.

Travel stocks continue to suffer as shares for Royal Caribbean sank 7.95% and shares for American Airlines went down 8%.

Retail stock is also feeling the crunch as shares of Nordstrom fell 5.4%, shares of Kohl’s dipped 5.7%, while shares Best Buy and Macy’s dropped 4.3% and 4.6%, respectively.


16,000.30 Price
+0.120% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0262%
Short position overnight fee 0.0040%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 1.8


17,358.10 Price
-0.640% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0261%
Short position overnight fee 0.0042%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 5.0


4,561.50 Price
+0.140% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0262%
Short position overnight fee 0.0040%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.7


15,990.00 Price
+0.140% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0221%
Short position overnight fee -0.0001%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 1.5

Oil: Crude prices sink as industry awaits travel delays

Oil futures are down on Wednesday after hitting gains earlier in the session.

West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery dropped 61 cents, or 0.9%, to settle at $65.57 a barrel, down from an intraday high of $69.49.

February Brent crude, the global benchmark, slipped 36 cents, or 0.5%, to $68.87 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

Gold: Metal’s lone bright spot

Gold futures ended higher on Wednesday despite Wall Street’s reaction to the first case of Omicron inside America’s borders.

The most active February gold contract added $7.80, or 0.4%, to settle at $1,784.30 an ounce, while silver futures extended their loss from Tuesday, sinking 48 cents, or 2.1%, at $22.339 an ounce.

Forex: US dollar outworks yen

On Wednesday, one US dollar equals 1.28 of the Canadian dollar, 112.85 of the Japanese yen, 0.88 of the euro, and 0.75 of the pound sterling.

The ICE US Dollar Index, a measure of the currency against a half-dozen other monetary units, was flat at 96.002, while the 10-year Treasury note yields went up around 1.433%, compared with 1.440%.

Read more: The Omicron effect: What's next for global stock markets?

Markets in this article

American Airlines Group Inc (Extended Hours)
12.14 USD
-0.08 -0.660%
American Airlines Group Inc (Extended Hours)
12.14 USD
-0.08 -0.660%
Best Buy
70.38 USD
0.75 +1.080%
Best Buy
70.38 USD
0.75 +1.080%
23.19 USD
0.08 +0.350%

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The difference between trading assets and CFDs
The main difference between CFD trading and trading assets, such as commodities and stocks, is that you don’t own the underlying asset when you trade on a CFD.
You can still benefit if the market moves in your favour, or make a loss if it moves against you. However, with traditional trading you enter a contract to exchange the legal ownership of the individual shares or the commodities for money, and you own this until you sell it again.
CFDs are leveraged products, which means that you only need to deposit a percentage of the full value of the CFD trade in order to open a position. But with traditional trading, you buy the assets for the full amount. In the UK, there is no stamp duty on CFD trading, but there is when you buy stocks, for example.
CFDs attract overnight costs to hold the trades (unless you use 1-1 leverage), which makes them more suited to short-term trading opportunities. Stocks and commodities are more normally bought and held for longer. You might also pay a broker commission or fees when buying and selling assets direct and you’d need somewhere to store them safely.
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