After a near 4% fall in the FTSE 100, we are expecting to see a rebound of sorts on Monday.

Still, worries over the spread and potential economic impact of the newly-dubbed Omicron Covid variant look set to haunt world markets.

Asia’s main bourses, for example, struggled as cases of the mutated virus were pinpointed in clusters thousands of miles away from its source in southern Africa.

“After Friday’s ugly sell-off early indications would suggest we’re going to be in for a bumpy ride this week, as we come to the end of November and beginning of December, with today’s market open set to be a positive one despite a slide in Asia markets, as investors strive to understand what comes next,” said Michael Hewson of CMC Markets.

“We’ve always known that new variants could well be a problem, and yet over the past 12 months, there have been many reports of possible candidates that might be a concern that have come and gone without getting the sort of market reaction we saw on Friday.

“It’s also not that clear this newly renamed Omicron variant is any more deadly than the current more prevalent Delta variant, which for the most part is still causing its own fair share of problems in Europe as it is, having replaced Alpha earlier this year, without the same sort of market reaction.”

After a 13% drop on Friday, US crude futures were up 4.1%. Gold, a haven asset in times of market turmoil, was up 0.5% to just under US$1,800 an ounce.

Looking ahead, easyJet results later this week could provide some insight into the plans being made by the beleaguered airline industry in the face of renewed uncertainty.

Otherwise, as we head into December, it looks set to be a quiet week for scheduled corporate news with savings group AJ Bell, payments specialist Wise and publisher Future set to report.

Around the markets

  • Pound SU$1.3336 (flat)
  • Bitcoin US$57,412.40 (+0.18%)
  • Gold US$1,797 (+0.5%)
  • Brent crude US$75.06 (+3.22%)

6.50am: Early Markets – Asia / Australia

Shares in the Asia-Pacific region were lower on Monday as the omicron COVID-19 variant threatened to derail economic recoveries and more countries imposed travel restrictions.

China’s Shanghai Composite slipped 0.30% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 1.20%,

The Nikkei in Japan slumped 1.63% while South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.89%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX200 closed 0.54% lower at 7239.8 points with the travel, oil and banking sectors dragging the market down.


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