1) Omicron has mild symptom, says South African doctor
The South African doctor who discovered the Covid-19 omicron variant said that people who contracted this strain have mild symptoms unlike the delta variant. Meanwhile, the WHO said it will take weeks to understand how the variant may affect diagnostics and added that the variant is likely to spread internationally, posing a very high global risk where Covid-19 surges could have severe consequences in some areas.
2) Fed’s Chair Jerome Powell expected omicron to slowdown U.S. economy
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said that he believes the omicron variant and a recent uptick in coronavirus cases pose a downside risk to the U.S. economy along with uncertainty in inflation.
“The recent rise in COVID-19 cases and the emergence of the Omicron variant pose downside risks to employment and economic activity and increased uncertainty for inflation,” Powell said in remarks he plans to deliver to Senate lawmakers on Tuesday. “Greater concerns about the virus could reduce people’s willingness to work in person, which would slow progress in the labor market and intensify supply-chain disruptions.”
3) Oil prices closed with small gain as concerns over omicron remain
Oil prices regained some ground on Monday after a huge plunge last Friday. The international benchmark Brent crude settled with 0.99% gain at $73.44 per barrel and the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) rose 2.6% to $69.95 per barrel. However, Brent and WTI rose around 5% before a profit taking caused the prices to close with lower gains.
4) Wall Street closed higher as Biden reassured of no lockdown
Wall Street closed higher on Monday, rebounding from a huge selloff last Friday on Thanksgiving in concerns of the new Covid-19 variant while President Joe Biden reassured Americans that an omicron-related lockdown is off the table for now. Dow Jones rose 0.68%, S&P 500 jumped 1.32% and Nasdaq increased 1.88%.