Stocks around the world fell on Friday and oil prices plunged, after evidence of a new coronavirus variant in South Africa prompted another round of travel restrictions and reignited concerns about the economic toll imposed by the pandemic.
The S&P 500 logged its worst day since February as a growing list of nations, including the United States, moved to prohibit travel from half a dozen or so African countries. The uncertainty shook a stock market that had been performing robustly, and market watchers said the heightened volatility might continue as countries assessed the risks of the variant.“Where the market is selling off so dramatically is a product of, ‘yes, this is bad news,’ but also the fact that we have had a pretty strong run with relatively low volatility for a while,” said Kiran Ganesh, a strategist at UBS Global Wealth Management. “It’s still too early to really judge what this variant is going to do.”
The pandemic and Covid variants remain one of the biggest risks to markets, and are likely to continue to inject volatility,” Keith Lerner, a strategist at Truist, wrote in a note to clients.