Stocks dive at the close as first confirmed US Omicron case triggers sharp reversal

Stocks dive at the close as first confirmed US Omicron case triggers sharp reversal
The New York Stock Exchange.Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  • Stocks turned sharply lower Wednesday after the US identified a case of Omicron in California.
  • The S&P 500 had been on course to recover from Tuesday's nearly 2% rout.

US stocks retreated from earlier gains to finish sharply lower Wednesday, after US officials said the country now has its first case of a person with the Omicron coronavirus strain.

The market's three main equity indexes reversed during afternoon trade as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed an Omicron infection was identified in California.

The CDC said the fully vaccinated individual had returned from South Africa on November 25. The person, who is self-quarantining, had mild symptoms that are improving and all of the person's close contacts have tested negative.

Here's where US indexes stood at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday:

Stocks earlier Wednesday had found upside support after ADP said private US employers added 534,000 jobs in November, a better reading than the 525,000 jobs expected in an Econoday survey of economists. The report arrived ahead of Friday's nonfarm payrolls report from the Labor Department.


The S&P 500 had been up by as much as 1.9%, on course to recover losses from Tuesday, when the CEO of biotech firm Moderna cautioned that vaccines could be less effective against Omicron. The World Health Organization last week said the new coronavirus strain had a large number of mutations.

Around the markets, Cathie Wood's Ark Invest bought about $49 million worth of Twitter shares on Tuesday, taking advantage of the stock's drop after Jack Dorsey said he would step down as CEO.

Legendary investor Ray Dalio warned investors against trying to time the market as it faces uncertainty about the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Gold rose 0.3% to $1,780.62 per ounce. The 10-year yield slipped 2 basis points to 1.427%.

Oil prices fell during Wednesday's session that marked the start of a meeting by OPEC. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.9% to $65.57 per barrel.


Bitcoin edged down 0.1% to $56,987.07.