Omicron and Fed Tapering

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Omicron and Fed Tapering
  • Omicron Update (Some Incremental Information)

Stock futures are down more than 1%, tracking global equities lower while the 10-year yield is down more than 10 basis points on renewed omicron variant concerns.

In an interview with the FT, MRNA’s CEO said the scientists he had spoken with expect a material decline in the efficacy of current vaccines against the new omicron variant of the coronavirus due to the high number of mutations and that is weighing heavily on risk assets this morning.

Today, there are a few economic reports due out: Case-Shiller Home Price Index (E: 1.1%), FHFA House Price Index (E: 1.0%), and Consumer Confidence (E: 110.7), but all of the data was gathered well before the omicron news emerged and therefore will not have a major impact on markets given the keen focus on COVID in recent days.

Fed Chair Powell will join Treasury Secretary Yellen in testifying before the Senate this morning at 10:00 a.m. ET and any indication that the Fed may change course regarding policy plans as a result of omicron could move markets. There is one other Fed speaker today: Williams (10:30 a.m. ET).

Bottom line, this is once again a COVID-driven market and any negative headlines about vaccine effectiveness or the severity of omicron infections could cause more risk off money flows as the odds of new lockdowns in parts of the world would rise as a result.