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US shares sink over scare of new COVID variant

This picture shows a view of the Big Apple from the Staten Island Ferry on November 29, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by AFP)

The emergence of a new coronavirus variant has plunged Wall Street stocks into a free-fall as shareholders fear fresh lockdowns.

Experts predict the Omicron coronavirus variant might override any existing immunity received from the rollout of vaccines or prior infection.

On Tuesday, shortly after trading started, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.6 percent at 34,899.50.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.6 percent to 4,627.43, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.3 percent to 15,737.17.

Stocks have been volatile ever since the news of the new variant came out on Friday.

US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell sound the alarm about new coronavirus variant on Monday.

He warned that Omicron could cause another slowdown in the US economy as well as the labor market.

Powell also warned that the Omciron fear could impact inflation and heighten uncertainty regarding commodity prices just as the nation was expecting to recover from the initial COVID shock to the US economy which began in 2019 during the presidency of Donald Trump.

Elsewhere, major stock exchange markets in Europe fell sharply on Tuesday over fear that the Omicron variant might trigger cancellations that will kill the global economic revival off.

Major stocks were down, sinking on average between 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent in European markets.

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