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Oil slips towards $ 70 a barrel as omicron fears rise



It looks like it could be another tricky day in the markets, with sentiment regarding the new omicron strain of Covid souring overnight.

As oil and equities regained ground on Monday after the massive sell-offs last week, it looks like the rebound is short-lived.

This follows negative comments from Moderna boss Stéphane Bancel, who avoided the more optimistic rumors from rivals such as Pfizer and BioNTech and warned that current vaccines could fight the new strain.

5 things to start your day

1) Accenture to create 3,000 cybersecurity jobs Half posts will be based outside London in a vote of confidence in the growing UK tech industry

2) Twitter boss Jack Dorsey resigns He said the social media platform needs to ‘break’ with its hold as founder

3) AJ Bell seduces young investors with commission-free trading app Broker follows Robinhood’s footsteps in meme stock trading frenzy

4) German inflation peaks after reunification The figure jumped to 5.2% in November from 4.5% the month before, as energy bills soar

5) Infiniti founder quits investment firm over sexual assault complaints Zia Chishti resigned from TRG Pakistan ahead of board meeting to reflect on future

What happened during the night

Asian stock markets weakened sharply late Tuesday, abandoning their earlier gains, with investors fearing the Omicron variant would no longer prove vaccine resistant and cause more widespread global economic disruption.

The region’s trade followed a brighter lead from Wall Street on Monday, which reacted positively to news from US President Joe Biden that further lockdowns due to the variant were not an option at this time.

The positive sentiment was quickly replaced, however, by a sudden explosion of risk aversion in most major asset markets in Asia after the head of drugmaker Moderna told the Financial Times that the Covid-19 vaccines are as effective against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus as they have been against the Delta variant.

The MSCI’s largest Asia-Pacific stock index outside of Japan was down 0.45 pc on Tuesday.

In Australia, the S & P / ASX200 closed 0.22% higher after rising 1.15% previously. Japan’s Nikkei retraced all of its 1.2% gains recorded earlier in the session and turned negative later on Tuesday.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lost 1.86% while China’s CSI 300 index was down 0.3%.

Activity in China’s services sector grew at a slightly slower pace in November, official data showed on Tuesday, as the sector was hit by new lockdown measures as authorities rushed to contain the latest epidemic.

Coming today

  • Business : EasyJet, Shaftesbury, Future, Greencore, Country Properties, Topps Tiles (Annual results); Pennon, Discovery (Interim); Micro focus (Trade Update)
  • Economy: PMI (United States, China); consumer price index (EU); house price index (WE); consumer confidence (WE)