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Wall Street set to open lower on concerns about vaccine efficacy 

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6.30am: US stocks seen opening down

US stocks are expected to open lower after the chief executive of drugmaker Moderna Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA) predicted that existing vaccines will be less effective against the Omicron variant than other strains of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.29% in Tuesday pre-market trading, while the broader S&P 500 index declined 1.03% and those for the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 shed 0.51%.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Stéphane Bancel said the high number of Omicron mutations on the spike protein and the rapid spread of the variant in South Africa suggest that existing vaccines may need to be modified, which could take months.

Stocks closed higher on Monday, recovering from losses on Friday as news of the new COVID-19 variant broke, sending the Dow to its biggest one-day decline this year. 

At the close, the Dow recouped 0.68% to 35,136, while the S&P 500 added 1.32% to 4,655 and the Nasdaq climbed 1.88% to 15,783.    

“It only took one comment from the boss of drugs firm Moderna to derail markets once again. Stéphane Bancel said he believed existing vaccines would struggle with the Omicron variant, leading to a renewed sell-off in shares and oil prices,” said AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.

“Markets hate uncertainty, and this is precisely what we have now. No-one knows how much trouble the new variant is going to cause, and so it seems plausible that we will see heightened volatility on the markets until there is adequate data to better understand the lay of the land.”

Story by ProactiveInvestors


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