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S&P 500 dips on Friday, stocks head for losing week from omicron fears

2 min read
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The S&P 500 dropped on Friday, after a disappointing November jobs report, as the market nears the end of a roller-coaster week driven by Covid omicron variant developments.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell about 120 points, dragged down by a 3% loss in Boeing. The S&P 500 lost about 0.9%. The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite dipped 2%. The major averages are on pace for a losing week.

Stocks tied closely to the virus have led the market on its week-long seesaw, and that continued Friday. Companies that benefit from the economic expansion, such as hotels and airlines, led losers. Las Vegas Sands was off 3% and Delta Air Lines fell 1.2%. Norwegian Cruise Line fell 2.7% and Carnival Corp. lost 3%.

“The uncertainty regarding Omicron is high, but coupled with the disappointing jobs number and investors decided to dump in front of the weekend,” said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at LPL Financial.

November’s jobs report showed slower-than-expected job creation last month. Nonfarm payrolls increased by just 210,000 for the month, well below the 573,000 jobs predicted by economists polled by Dow Jones.

However, the unemployment rate fell sharply to 4.2%, better than estimates of 4.5%.

“It is unsettling to see that we were unable to build on October’s strong numbers, with uncertainty only set to increase as the winter progresses,” said Steve Rick, Chief Economist at CUNA Mutual Group.That said, it is not completely surprising that this month fell short with the country preparing to respond to the COVID-19 Omicron variant and continuing to battle rising inflation and the ongoing supply chain crisis.”

Elsewhere in markets, Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi announced during Asia trading hours on Friday that it will start delisting from the New York Stock Exchange and make plans to list in Hong Kong instead. Shares fell 16%.

Friday’s market moves continues a highly volatile streak for stocks as the market digests the new Covid variant omicron and what it means for markets. The omicron variant has now been detected in five U.S. states, with symptoms so far reported as mild.

Despite a rebound on Thursday that saw the Dow rise more than 600 points, the Dow is down 0.8% for the week. The S&P 500 is down 0.6% and the Nasdaq Composite has lost 1.3% since Monday.

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