The Friday following Thanksgiving, typically a quiet day in equity markets, was anything but quiet this year as news of a significantly mutated COVID-19 variant discovered in South Africa led to a “sell first ask questions later” trading day. The S&P 500 index declined 2.3%, but many “reopening” stocks like airlines and cruise lines declined 10% or more. Conversely, “stay-at-home” companies like Zoom Video Communications (ZM) advanced more than 6% and vaccine-maker Moderna advanced more than 20%. The World Health Organization labeled the new strain as Omicron and gave it the designation of “variant of concern” given its potential for faster transmission and ability to reinfect those who have already had previous COVID strains. Researchers at Pfizer and Moderna have already begun studying the variant in an effort to adapt their vaccines accordingly. Both firms have indicated that they anticipate being able to ship new vaccines within 100 days.
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2 Year Treasury
10 Year Treasury
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Source: Morningstar, YCharts, and US Treasury as of November 26, 2021
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