Omicron hits markets less hard than other Covid variants

Scientists, doctors, and public health officials are still assessing the risk posed by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, but markets are already jumping to conclusions. On Friday, markets fell on fears that the fast-spreading strain of the coronavirus was first detected in South Africa, which has now been detected. It is found in more than a dozen countries, could lead to a reversal of the global economic recovery. Many countries have banned travel from countries in South Africa, while Israel, Japan and Morocco have banned They closed their borders For all outbound travelers.

But as more information emerges aboutalternative to anxiety, which is the most dangerous category for the World Health Organization, markets are starting to rise. So far, European markets are up, and US futures are pointing to those markets He will also recover Some – but not all – losses on Friday.

What do we know about Omicron? his variable 50 boom Never seen in combination before. This raised concerns that Omicron could make existing treatments less effective, but Moderna and Pfizer indicated yesterday So they can quickly adjust their vaccines. What’s more, some early signs suggest that while the variant may be more contagious than previously, it may not lead to more serious illness. The financier, Bill Ackman, said: tweet yesterday.

Covid-related stock market declines are becoming milder and shorter. Back in February 2020, the S&P 500 fell 3.4 percent in one day and then continued to slide for a month and a half. In October 2020, a resurgence of cases sent the market down one day by 3.5 percent, but the markets rebounded within two weeks. Friday’s drop was 2.3 percent, with the start of the next trading day’s recovery.

Bond and commodity investors are pricing in new scenarios. The yield on the 10-year Treasury is trading just above 1.5 percent, down from a recent high of around 1.7. A drop in bond yields tends to indicate lower inflation is on the horizon, not higher, as has been the fear for months. This indicates calmer economic activity, which was also reflected in lower oil prices, with West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, rising slightly today but trading more than 15 percent less than it was a month ago.

Overall, the recent market turmoil shows how dependent the economy is on the course of the pandemic, and how quickly sentiment is changing with each development and shift in our understanding of the virus.

In-depth reading:

It is said that Britain will demand Meta retract an acquisition. UK antitrust regulators will require Facebook’s parent company to do so Solve the $400 million acquisition From online photo platform Giphy, the Financial Times reported. Meanwhile, EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager has urged EU policymakers to do just that. reinforce the rules To organize Big Tech.

Jared Kushner struggles to prepare for his next acting. Donald Trump’s son-in-law is Using Middle East Communications During his tenure in the White House to raise money for a new investment fund, The Times reported. But a number of countries, such as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, refused to invest.

Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial begins today. He was the companion of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein Accused of several feloniesincluding sex trafficking of underage girls. Maxwell’s trial is seen by many as a proxy courtroom for Epstein, who died by suicide in 2019.

It seems that President Biden’s nomination of a major banking regulator is doomed to fail. Five centrist Democratic senators have reportedly told the White House that they You will not support Saule Omarova As head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, according to Axios.

Honor is flowing to Stephen Sondheim. The songwriter, who helped reshape the American songbook with musicals such as “West Side Story”, “Company” and “Sweeney Todd”, He died on Friday at 91. Encomiums And Reviews It soon followed: “He was like Shakespeare,” said actress Bernadette Peters.

Although there is a lot that we don’t know about the Omicron variant, business leaders know it They ask themselves wearily The same questions they asked during previous waves of the Corona virus.

Will there be new closures or vaccine mandates? Some jumped on the Omicrom variant as an opportunity To urge airlines To request proof of vaccination and testing for passengers. The alternative could also put pressure on businesses Reluctance to impose vaccine mandates on the staff. As for government actions, Dr. Anthony Fauci ABC News said It was “too early to say” whether shutdowns or new mandates were needed.

What does this mean for conferences and personal gatherings? There is a whole host of events coming this winter, as organizers hope to get back on track after previous cancellations and postponements. in early January, those He is set to return to Las Vegas in person, while World Economic Forum in Davos It is scheduled to take place in person later that month. The Winter Olympics in Beijing in February allow spectators, although it is only from mainland China. Southwest in Austin, Texas, to return in person in March. in Britain, new laws It goes into effect tomorrow and all travelers are required to isolate on arrival until they have a negative test result; Similar policies elsewhere would make it more difficult to attend conferences and other gatherings, a potential setback for airlines that have been I just started seeing a rebound.

Do workers return to the office? Beyond the immediate question about office holiday partiesThere is the bigger question about the fate of the offices in the coming year and beyond. Many companies have already set and delayed their return dates multiple times. Many, including Wells Fargo, Google, and Facebook’s parent plan Meta return their workers To the office in January. Will they postpone the return date again or simply order the workers to return? Is the prospect of a prolonged pandemic enough to convince some companies to switch to a permanent form of resilience or will they continue to do so Noise with imperfect hybrid settings?


— Shannon Abloh, widow of fashion designer Virgil Abloh who broke barriers, citing her husband, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 41 from cancer. He established his own brand, Off-White, as well as taking on an extensive role at LVMH, making him the most powerful black CEO of the world’s most powerful luxury group.


► A quick overview of the job market: On Friday, the Labor Department will release its November jobs report. The Latest Report It showed that the economy added more than 500,000 jobs in October after months of disappointing job numbers. However, the number of American workers in October was 4.2 million fewer than it was before the pandemic shutdowns.

► Theranos Experience: Elizabeth Holmes, founder of the blood test start-up, will do it Continue to testify Because it is defending itself against fraud charges. Within three days of testifying last week, she portrayed herself as someone whose good intentions had been misinterpreted.

► Cyber ​​Monday and Tuesday Giving: Americans Back to shopping in person Excitedly on Black Friday. but As Wirecutter notes, many shopping deals will extend into today, known as two internet. And for those who tend to spend on charity, there is give tuesday.

Public company executives are paying more attention than ever to political spending, according to a new report shared exclusively with DealBook. Each year, the Center for Political Accountability and the Zecklin Center for Business Ethics at The Wharton School Ranks S&P 500 Companies Through disclosure and accountability policies that govern their political spending. This year, the average S&P 500 score for political disclosure and accountability rose to 54 percent, up from 50 percent last year.

Companies “lift the veil” on their political spendingThe report came in response to a greater awareness of the political influence of US companies. This past proxy season, shareholder decisions seeking more disclosure of spending passed at an ever-higher rate. The companies were called in to funnel money to lawmakers and organizations that challenged the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

Councils are becoming more aware of the consequences of political spending. Greater oversight at the director level shows that S&P 500 companies understand the importance of these decisions:

  • The board’s overall oversight of political spending is now taking place at 295 companies, up about 14 percent from 2020.

  • Board committee review from Direct political spending is the policy of 255 companies, an increase of more than 12 percent.

  • A Board Committee review of payments to trade associations and other tax-exempt groups rose to 228, up nearly 15 percent.

The next step is to reconcile public speaking and spending. To top the index, companies must have a process in place to avoid supporting causes that undermine their stated principles. According to the report, only one company – Intel – “has distinguished itself by declaring a public policy of explicitly disengaging from conflict or incompatibility between its core values ​​and its political donations”. Intel has stopped donating to members of Congress who voted against ratification of the 2020 presidential election, and is now reviewing lawmakers’ public statements, as well as their voting records, for alignment with the company’s values.

Cash flows freely in the 2022 elections, a test of these policies. Members of the House of Representatives raised $128 million, more than double Total at this stage of the cycle two years ago. Bruce Freed, president of the Center for Political Accountability, told DealBook that demanding more transparency about how and why these donations were approved is the best way to focus more on the consequences for corporate political spending.

deals

  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sold nearly half of his holdings in the company last week. (regulatory deposit)

  • Private equity firms have made nearly $1 trillion in leveraged acquisitions so far this year, a record. (The Wall Street Journal)

  • Half of this year’s large IPOs have fallen below their debut prices. (FT)

  • Short sellers bounced off their shells during the meme stock boom. (from the inside)

Policy

  • Lina Khan’s battle to rein in big tech. (New Yorker)

  • European countries are looking to expand nuclear power programs to help reach ambitious climate goals. (currently)

  • Democratic lawmakers plan to introduce a $250 billion bill aimed at boosting America’s competitiveness against China, but Beijing is threatening punishment if it is passed. (Politico)

  • Actor Matthew McConaughey said he is not running for governor of Texas “at this moment”. (currently)

  • Major buyouts such as Blackstone and Apollo have not signed the financial industry’s pledge to reduce carbon emissions. (Bloomberg)

The best of the rest

  • Many millennials are dealing with high inflation for the first time. (currently)

  • The emergence of a furniture hub in North Carolina illustrates how supply chain issues are reshaping local economies. (currently)

  • Uber security executives wrongly accused of breaking the law continue to face a backlash, even as the company moves forward. (currently)

  • About the “Succession” and what it says about the difficulty of passing a wealth tax. (Politico)

We like your feedback! Please email ideas and suggestions to dealbook@nytimes.com.

Write a Comment