Global stocks see a sharp downturn during the trading session on Tuesday as fear over the new Covid-19 omicron weighs the market down after the comment of Moderna’s CEO, saying that he predicted existing vaccines to be less effective against omicron, reigniting investors concerns from last week.
Major stock markets in Asia were trading higher in the morning session of November 30, 2021, as well as Dow Jones Futures indicating further gain from yesterday’s session.
Financial Times published an article not long after in an interview with Moderna’s CEO Stéphane Bancel in which the pharmaceutical producer predicted existing vaccines will be much less effective against omicron than earlier strains and warned that it would take months before drugmakers can manufacture new variant-specific vaccines at scale. Bancel also suggested that the current vaccines may need to be modified next year due to the high mutation of the virus.
After the news broke out, global stocks made a sharp plunge, led by Dow Jones Futures with a loss of more than 500 points. Asian and European markets soon followed to move downward.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization and Moderna as well as other drugmakers have said that it could take several weeks to understand the new strain and the efficacy of existing vaccines against omicron.
UBS’ chief investment officer for global wealth management Mark Haefele wrote in a note saying that the firm advises against hasty shifts in investment strategy and recommends staying invested. He also stated that the market reaction may have been exacerbated by relatively low liquidity in Thanksgiving week, and volatility could remain elevated in the days to come as systematic investors readjust positioning.
“A period of market volatility after such a strong rally should also not come as a major surprise. But it does serve as a reminder of the value of being diversified across markets and sectors,” wrote Mark Haefele.
Amid this downturn, Haefele recommended investors to look for opportunities in healthcare stocks as the strategic outlook for the sector remains strong, giving both defensive and growth opportunities.