A variant of coronavirus called Omicron was discovered by South African researchers and called a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization, igniting fear that it will thwart global efforts to slow the spread of Covid-19.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped more than 1,000 points during Friday's shortened trading session. The S&P 500 closed 2.3% lower, and the Russell 2000 Index closed off 3.7%. The 10 year Treasury yield fell to 1.48%, oil futures were down 12%, Bitcoin lost 8%, and the VIX Index spiked to 28.
Jobless claims came in at 199K, the lowest level in half a century. Though the reports around holidays can tend to be more volatile, the overall downward trend is expected to continue, even if the next few weeks come up a bit.
Both Personal Income and Spending increased more than expected in October, rising 0.5% and 1.3% respectively. Last month's Personal Income fell by 1.0%, so the reversal is welcome as we head into the holiday season.
Despite the ongoing inflation fears hitting consumer sentiment, the consumer appears resilient to inflation thus far, with inflation adjusted consumption increasing 0.7% last month.