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- Equity markets traded lower across Asia-Pac hours, with Japan's Nikkei 225 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng closing lower by around 1.5%. This sentiment carried through the European morning and is weighing on US futures ahead of the bell. The primary catalyst for the sell-off were comments from the Moderna CEO, who talked up the possibility of the omicron variant being able to dodge vaccine-acquired immunity, thereby prompting the need for a fresh jabs programme if the new strain takes hold.
- The risk-off theme pressed the e-mini S&P to 4582.00 on the dip, but found support ahead of Friday's 4577.25. Futures remain lower, but the price action serves as another reminder that the buy-the-dip strategy remains fragile, with near-term volatility likely given the uncertainty surrounding variants.
- Europe's energy and consumer discretionary names are leading losses, but all sectors are in the red. The more defensive healthcare firms are trading more favourably, but the sector remains lower by around 0.6% at the midpoint.