Restaurants and pubs in London
are closing in response to the Omicron threat. Some Broadway shows in New York City have been canceled
And companies ranging from Apple
to ridesharing firm Lyft
and investment bank Jefferies
have recently announced plans to delay workers’ return to the office. More businesses are likely to follow suit.
This might not be priced into the broader stock market just yet.
The S&P 500
is up 23% this year and is just a little more than 1% from its record high. Investors aren’t exactly running for the hills and hiding.
But there are pockets of the market that are getting hit harder than others. The tech stock heavy Nasdaq
has fallen 6% from its record high, putting it closer to 10% correction status. But even after its recent drop, the Nasdaq is still up 18% in 2021.
Airlines and other leisure and hospitality stocks have fallen recently, too, an indication that investors are wary of Omicron’s impact on travel. United Airlines (UAL)
shares have plummeted more than 9% in the past week. Carnival (CCL)
, Marriott (MAR)
and Expedia (EXPE)
have all posted big drops lately, too.
For what it’s worth, investors still seem to be more nervous about what the Fed is going to do than Covid shutting down the economy the way it did in March 2020. The fact that millions of Americans are now vaccinated and boosted may be helping.
But the spike in consumer prices is still more of a market obsession. To that end, more than 60% of those who responded to an informal Twitter poll
posted by this reporter indicated that they thought inflation was the biggest risk for markets in 2022 compared to just 27% saying Omicron and Covid.