Equity indices declined sharply Friday, posting losses between 2 and 5%, ending their uptrends as a new, potentially more dangerous strain of COVID has been discovered in South Africa.
Late Thursday, the World Health Organization announced that it’s monitoring a new Covid-19 variant with “a large number of mutations,” detected mainly in southern Africa. Moreover, it could be resistant to vaccines.
After the announcement, widespread panic has hit the markets, with traders selling everything “risky” and buying US bonds. As a result, the two-year yield crashed 16% to 0.55%, while the 10-year yield dropped 6% to 1.55%.
At the same time, the SP500% index was down 2%, the Dow dropped more than 2%, and the NASDAQ declined 1.2%. In Europe, losses were much worse, with the DAX index losing 3% and testing the 200-day average at 15,400 EUR. In addition, the French CAC index was down nearly 4%, and the UK FTSE 100 index crashed almost 3%.
In commodities, gold was bid amid safe-haven flows, gaining nearly 1% and jumping back above 1,800 USD. However, silver plunged 1%, copper was down more than 2%, and oil cratered more than 5% to two-month lows at 74 USD.
There are no significant macro data on the agenda today. Thus, trading is expected to be volatile and influenced mainly by the ongoing covid crisis.