Shares fell on Tuesday, reversing Wall Street’s recovery on Monday.
The main drop was mainly in the aftermarket after an interview with Moderna chief Stefan Bansell, who told the Financial Times that he feared existing vaccines would be less effective against the new strain.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell about 300 points due to losses in American Express and Coca-Cola. The S&P 500 fell 0.75%. The high-tech Nasdaq Composite fell about 0.4%. The Russell 2000 small cap fell 0.7%.
Shares of “pullback sponsor” pharmaceutical company Moderna fell nearly 4%.
Regeneron also reported similar concerns. The pharmaceutical company believes that their cocktail of antibodies may not be as effective against the Omicron strain. Regeneron shares lost about 3%.
“The stock market is focused on Omicron news feeds,” says Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group.
The market appeared to have calmed down on Monday following reports from South Africa that symptoms in people infected with the new strain appeared to be mild.
Travel stocks, which first fell on Friday and then rallied on Monday, fell again on Tuesday. Expedia Group shares fell 2%, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings fell 2%, and American Airlines shares fell 2.5%.
Counteracting the general market trend, Netflix shares were up 1.4% and Tesla shares were up 1.5%.
The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell below 1.45% as investors feared a slowdown in economic growth due to the new strain. The 10-year rate lost 9 basis points to 1.44% (1 basis point equals 0.01%).
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will tell the Senate on Tuesday as part of his quarterly pandemic report that he believes the omicron option poses “risks of reduced employment and economic activity.” It also complicates inflation forecasting, the Fed chief said in a market report he released Monday night.