Big Dow Swings Are Typical Since Omicron

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That's the average daily swing in the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the week since omicron emerged, a sign of just how uncertain stock investors are about the impact of the latest COVID-19 variant.

Before Friday, when the World Health Organization identified omicron as a “variant of concern,” the Dow had fluctuated an average of 320 points a day this year. But the stock market has whipsawed since then, with the Dow moving as much as 998 points from its highest to lowest point one day (Wednesday) and most recently 683 points on Thursday. The Dow closed at 34,369.79 Thursday, down 3.3% since the omicron news broke.

President Joe Biden vowed his administration would fight the new variant without shutdowns or lockdowns, but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, masks and testing, and “there’s optimism it won’t bring us back to the darkest days of the pandemic last year,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at trading firm Oanda. Still, the potential economic fallout is unclear, economists say. 

“It will be a couple of weeks until we have a better understanding of the new variant,” Ryan Sweet, an economist at Moody’s Analytics, wrote in a commentary. “Omicron reminds us that the global economic recovery remains tethered to the pandemic.”

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  1. Moody’s Analytics. “Jobless Claims.”

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