Wall St opens sharply lower after Covid variant news

Wall Street opens sharply lower after Covid variant news

About twenty minutes into trading, the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 2.5% at 34,905.54

Wall Street was closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday, and the session Friday was the first since the announcement of the B.1.1.529 variant of Covid-19 first detected in southern Africa. Credit: Reuters File Photo

Major US stock indices dropped at the open of Friday's holiday-shortened session following the announcement of a new Covid-19 variant that has prompted travel restrictions.

About twenty minutes into trading, the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 2.5 per cent at 34,905.54. The broad-based S&P 500 fell 1.7 per cent to 4,619.45.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost 1.4 per cent to 15,629.51.

Wall Street was closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday, and the session Friday was the first since the announcement of the B.1.1.529 variant of Covid-19 first detected in southern Africa.

The discovery has prompted Germany, Britain and Italy to ban travel from the region and other nations to consider restrictions. The European Union is also mulling a blanket travel ban.

"The most worrying thing about the new strain at the moment is how little we know about it, with early indications being that it could be more problematic than Delta," the earlier variant which harmed hiring and growth in the United States in the third quarter, said Craig Erlam of Oanda.

However, trading volumes were low, and markets were to close three hours early at 1800 GMT.

Check out the latest videos from DH:

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox