FINANCE – With the news of the spread of a new variant described as even more contagious than the Delta variant, the stock markets were scared on Friday. In Europe as in Asia, a clear dropout was felt. Paris fell 4.75%.
LCI editorial staff –
The news of the emergence of a new variant does not only worry scientists. This Friday morning, European stock markets plunged. The flagship CAC 40 index of the Paris Bourse fell 4.40% to 6,764.80 points at 08:22 GMT. London lost 3.31% and Frankfurt more than 3.19% soon after opening. The European stock markets ended very sharply, Paris having fallen for its part by 4.75%. The flagship CAC 40 index fell 336.14 points to 6,739.73 points, canceling all its gains since the beginning of the month. This is his worst session since March 18, 2020, when the first confinement was introduced in France.
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France affected by a fifth wave of Covid-19
The “Omicron” variant, a trigger
Asian markets felt the shock first: Tokyo closed down 2.53%, after dropping more than 3% by midday.
“For two weeks, health concerns have returned to the market. In the state of mind of recent days, we felt a form of mistrust, without going as far as stress, with for example an increase in volatility”, explains to AFP Alexandre Baradez, analyst of IG France.
Despite the health restrictions already tightened in many European countries, going as far as reconfinements, macroeconomic concerns about inflation, or even the announced decline in central bank support measures for the markets, investors “could wait a little more significant time to take profits” and the announcement of a new variant was ultimately the trigger, he believes. Especially since the Paris index has been evolving for several weeks at historic levels, having reached 7183 points in mid-November.
Travel stocks drop
The variant, called “Omicron”, or B.1.1.529, has the potential to spread very quickly, scientists say. They are also unaware of whether the vaccines currently available are effective against him. While several countries, including France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany have already banned the arrival of travelers from southern Africa, the President of the European Commission called on all States this Friday afternoon members to suspend flights to this region and other countries already affected by the variant.
“All air travel to these countries should be suspended until we have a clear understanding of the danger posed by the new variant.”, she says. “Travelers returning from these areas must adhere to strict quarantine rules.”
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If the stock market values linked to tourism or travel, already badly affected by the pandemic, were already the most affected this Friday morning, they risk, following these announcements, to continue their tumble in the coming days. At the opening this Friday morning, the aircraft manufacturer Airbus dropped 12% and the German airline Lufthansa more than 14%.
The only value in the spotlight on Friday, the French giant of analysis laboratories Eurofins Scientific soared 6.32%.
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