US open: Stocks mixed as omicron fears rattle markets
Wall Street stocks were mixed early on Tuesday as concerns regarding the Covid-19 omicron variant resurfaced.
As of 1540 GMT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.45% at 34,976.36 and the S&P 500 was 0.23% weaker at 4,644.55, while the Nasdaq Composite came out the gate 0.16% firmer at 15,807.98.
The Dow opened 159.58 points lower on Tuesday, taking a big bite out of gains recorded in the previous session.
Stocks headed south at the open after Moderna chief executive Stephane Bancel warned that existing vaccines were likely to be less effective against the new strain, stating there could be a "material drop" in current vaccines' effectiveness against omicron and stated it may take months to develop a vaccine specific to the new strain.
Elsewhere, Regeneron warned that its antibody treatment may also have a reduced level of effectiveness against the variant.
In addition to stocks trading lower on the news, with travel stocks trading lower after yesterday's rebound and shares in pharmaceutical companies also feeling the heat, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell more than ten basis points to 1.421%.
Going the other way, stay-at-home stocks like Netflix, Apple and Tesla were all in the green in early trading.
While coronavirus symptoms linked to the omicron variant have been branded as "extremely mild" by the South African doctor that discovered it, with the variant now being found in more than 12 nations across the globe, several have made the move to again restrict travel.
On the macro front, September's house price index rose to 354.6 in September from 351.5 in August, a 0.9% month-on-month rise, while S&P/Case Shiller's home price index showed prices rising at a year-on-year pace of 19.1% in September, just shy of the expected pace of 19.3% and a slightly lower than August's year-on-year rate of 19.6%.
Elsewhere, the Chicago PMI slumped to its lowest reading in nine months in November, hitting 61.8 from 68.4 in October, driven by a slow-down in new orders.
Lastly, the Conference Board's consumer confidence report also sank to a nine-month low in November, falling to 109.5 from 113.8 in October, a steeper decline than the 111.0 expected by analysts.