US stocks bounce back from sell-off as panic over Omicron variant eases

Stock market Dow Jones trader New York
Stocks have risen sharply over the last year, helping the Dow Jones finally break the 36,000 barrier.

  • US stocks jumped above 1% on Monday, recovering less than half of Friday’s steep losses.
  • The move higher comes as investors assess the ongoing risk of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.
  • Pfizer and Moderna are testing the effectiveness of its vaccines against Omicron, as well as new vaccines specifically targeting the variant.

US stocks gained about 1% on Monday, recovering some of the losses seen during last Friday’s shortened holiday trading session.

The 2% slide in stocks on Friday was sparked by the identification of a new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, which is thought to be more contagious than prior virus mutations like Delta. 

But investors are reassessing the risks on Monday after vaccine makers Moderna and Pfizer said they are testing the effectiveness of current vaccines against the new strain, as well as new vaccines specifically targeting the Omicron variant. If needed, new vaccine formulations could be ready by early 2022, according to Moderna.

Here’s where US indexes stood shortly after the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Monday:

Oil prices are following the path of stocks and rebounding sharply in Monday trades following Friday’s rout, as concerns of potential country lockdowns to combat the Omicron variant seem less likely as early reports suggest only mild symptoms from the new variant.

One investor who sees a bullish setup for equities is Bill Ackman, who said on Twitter that if Omicron symptoms are indeed mild, it would be bullish for stocks and bearish for bonds. 

Shares of Moderna jumped 10% on Monday and extended its two-day gain to more than 30% as it revealed its own vaccine plans for the Omicron variant. The surge helped stem a 45% loss from its record high of nearly $500. 

AMC Entertainment jumped about 2% on Monday after the movie theater chain said it would offer 86,000 NFTs to early ticket buyers of the upcoming Spider-Man movie.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil jumped as much as 6.74% to $72.74 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, rose as much as 5.65% to $76.83 per barrel.

Gold rose as much as 0.13% to $1,787.90 per ounce.

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