US Futures Plunge Over 2.5% Amid Worry Over New Virus Strain
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- Dow futures lose more than 900 points in pre-market trading Friday
- New virus strain found in South Africa responsible for a sharp spike in cases
What’s on Focus in the Markets?
Stock futures in the US plunged right out of the gate in pre-market activity as investors react to a concerning Covid-19 variant. Friday’s regular session appears to be gearing up for increased volatility as market participants will be positioning for a long weekend. The session today will be shortened to 1 pm.
In more detail, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures tumbled more than 900 points earlier today. Additionally, S&P500 futures and Nasdaq futures were down about 1% each due to the increased uncertainty over the new Covid-19 strain.
With this in mind, the heavy selling pressure arrived after the World Health Organization warned of a new coronavirus variant discovered in South Africa.
“We don’t know very much about this yet. What we do know is that this variant has a large number of mutations. And the concern is that when you have so many mutations, it can have an impact on how the virus behaves,” WHO said in a press conference.
Immediately, the United Kingdom and Singapore suspended flights from six African countries where the virus outbreak is happening.
What’s Next for Traders and Investors?
While the global financial markets were active on Thursday, Wall Street stocks were closed for Thanksgiving. To this end, traders are likely to be rotating more on the defense side during today’s session after US stocks logged minor gains on Wednesday.
Looking ahead into next week, market participants are bracing for volatility over the non-farm payrolls report due Friday. The NFPs, for short, will highlight the pace of economic expansion in the US. In other words, the numbers will reveal how many new jobs were added by employers across the states.
Also, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who received another four-year term, will testify twice in the upcoming week. In his comments before US lawmakers, he is expected to provide fresh insight into the Fed’s potential policy shifts.
What’s the Latest News on Bitcoin?
Meanwhile, in cryptocurrency markets, the price of bitcoin remained firm amid the growing uncertainty caused by the new virus strain. More specifically, the leading crypto asset traded between $56,000 to $58,000 early today.
The price of the orange coin has been consolidated near current levels for most of the week. On this note, traders use this moment to accumulate more as they expect market sentiment to shift to positive soon.
Further, many are calling for a new all-time high in the price of bitcoin and ether before the end of the year. Presently, bitcoin’s record sits at $69,000, while ether’s all-time high is $4,860. The Ethereum token is currently hovering near $4,200, or about 12% from its record.
Today’s Economic Calendar (EST times)
- Holiday, United States, Thanksgiving Day – Early close at 01:00 pm
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