Stocks, oil sink on omicron fears, Fed’s Powell on tap

How omicron variant could be tipping market scales

Slatestone Wealth chief market strategist Kenny Polcari and Kearney head of consumer and retail practice Greg Portell discuss market movement amid new coronavirus developments and Black Friday shopping.

U.S. stocks are set for a bout of volatility with stock futures pointing to a lower open ahead of testimony from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and rising concerns over the omicron variant.

Dow Jones Industrial futures are set to tumble over 400 points or 1% while S&P 500 futures dropped 0.5% and Nasdaq Composite futures nearly 1%. 

Powell is set to tell Congress on Tuesday that the omicron variant could threaten the U.S. labor market and cloud the inflation forecast. 

COVID-19 OMICRON VARIANT: HERE'S WHAT WE KNOW

"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 wrote in prepared remarks that he will deliver before the Senate Banking Committee. 

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES35135.94+236.60+0.68%
SP500S&P 5004655.27+60.65+1.32%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX15782.834136+291.18+1.88%

Stocks are reversing from Monday's rebound as investors did some bargain hunting. 

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
MRNAMODERNA, INC.368.51+38.88+11.80%
PFEPFIZER INC.52.40-1.60-2.96%
BNTXBIONTECH SE362.52+14.52+4.17%
JNJJOHNSON & JOHNSON159.75+0.55+0.35%
REGNREGENERON PHARMACEUTICALS, INC.654.40+11.05+1.72%

In stocks, vaccine makers remain front and center. Moderna's CEO, in an interview with the Financial Times, said that current vaccines for COVID-19 will likely be much less effective against the new omicron variant. 

Additionally, Regeneron shares fell after disclosing its COVID cocktail may be less effective against the variant. And Pfizer told FOX Business:

"Pfizer and BioNTech are remaining vigilant and constantly conducting surveillance efforts focused on monitoring for emerging variants that potentially escape protection from our vaccine. We are beginning to run neutralization tests on the new Omicron variant of concern and expect to have initial data in the coming weeks."

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
WBAWALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE, INC.46.08+0.18+0.39%
MCKMCKESSON CORP.223.27+1.66+0.75%

In deal news, Walgreens Boots Alliance agreed to buy the remaining 30% stake in McKesson Corporation's German healthcare unit GEHE Pharma Handel (GEHE) and Alliance Healthcare Deutschland (AHD). 

And Adobe's latest stats on Cyber Monday were updated Tuesday and shoppers spent $10.7B a drop of 1.4% compared to the same period a year ago. 

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
AMZNAMAZON.COM, INC.3,561.57+57.01+1.63%
WMTWALMART, INC.142.63-2.27-1.57%
TGTTARGET CORP.249.16+2.59+1.05%
KSSKOHL’S CORP.53.32-0.60-1.11%

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On the economic calendar: 

At 9 a.m. ET, S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller will release its latest home price data. Economists surveyed by Refinitiv expect the seasonally adjusted index to rise 1.2% from August. Year-over-year home prices as measured by the 20-city index are anticipated to slip for a second month to 19.3%, down from 19.7% in August and a record 20% in July.

Later, at 9:45 a.m., the Institute for Supply Management is out with its Chicago Purchasing Managers’ index for November. The closely watched gauge of Midwest business activity is anticipated to dip slightly to 67.0 after an unexpected increase to 68.4 in October as supply shortages continue to hinder growth.  

At 10 a.m. ET, the Conference Board will release its consumer confidence index for November. It’s expected to fall slightly to 110.9 after a surprise increase to 113.8 in October. Confidence is down sharply from a post-pandemic high of 128.9 in June due to inflation and COVID variant concerns. 

France's CAC 40 slipped 1.4% in early trading to 6,684.44, while Germany's DAX lost 1.1% to 15,105.99. Britain's FTSE 100 shed 1.2% to 7,024.58. 

Singapore led Asia's losses, dropping 2.5%, while South Korea’s Kospi lost 2.4% to 2,839.01. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 closed 1.6% lower at 27,821.76, as pessimism over the omicron variant set in. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.2% to 7,256.00. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dipped 1.6% to 23,475.26, while the Shanghai Composite was nearly flat at 3,563.89.

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