Stocks slip, haven rally as new Covid-19 variant scares investors – Times of India


SYDNEY: Stocks fell and headed for their biggest weekly decline in nearly two months on Friday, while safe haven assets such as bonds and the yen remained stalled as a new virus version swayed future growth and higher US interest rates. raised concerns about.
The variant, discovered by scientists in South Africa, may be able to evade an immune response and has prompted the UK to impose travel restrictions on South Africa as soon as possible.
South African rand fell 1% in early trade, as did US crude futures. S&P 500 futures fell 0.4%, while the risk-sensitive Australian and New Zealand dollars fell to three-month lows.
“The trigger was the news of this COVID version … and the uncertainty of what that meant,” said Ray Attrill, head of FX strategy. National Australia Bank in Sydney. “You shoot first and ask questions later when news like this comes out.”
Japan’s Nikkei fell 1.7% and Australian shares 0.6% in early trade.
MSCI’s largest index Asia-Pacific Shares Outside Japan was down 0.2% for a weekly decline of 1% and world stocks, while still near record highs, headed for a weekly decline of 0.7%, the biggest since early October.
Little is known about the new variant. However, the scientists told reporters that it has a “very unusual constellation” of mutations, as they can help evade the body’s immune response and make it more permeable.
British officials think it is the most important version ever and worry it could conflict with vaccines.
Treasury moves were sharp at the open in Tokyo after the Thanksgiving holiday – as yields quickly pulled back some of the week’s gains. The benchmark 10-year yield fell 5 basis points to 1.5927%.
The yen jumped nearly 0.4% to 114.91 per dollar and gold rose 0.2% to $1,792 an ounce.
The moves come against a backdrop of concerns about COVID-19 outbreaks, which impose restrictions on movement and activity in Europe and aggressively price rate hikes in the United States next year in the market.