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Stocks Sink as Powell, Omicron Hammer Sentiment

  • Equity markets opened lower and deteriorated from there, with concerns surrounding the spread of the new omicron COVID variant compounded by a persistent hawkish tone from the Fed chair Powell. The twin headwinds pressured all three major US indices, with losses of 1.6-1.7% across the Street.
  • The e-mini S&P sank through the Friday lows of 4577.25 as Fed Chair Powell appeared to mark the end of the use of the phrase 'transitory' when referring to inflation, adding that the FOMC will investigate accelerating a taper in December, which could bring forward an end to the asset purchase program in 2022.
  • Growth stocks fell most sharply, with communication services the underperforming sector for the session. Banks and financials also sank as a marked flattening in the US yield curve crimped expected lending margins. Lastly, energy names added to the weight as the WTI and Brent crude price sank to fresh trend lows, with the active WTI contract taking out key support at the $67.43 200-dma.
  • Continental markets traded similarly lower, with the Spanish IBEX-35 at the bottom of the pile - having dropped 1.8%.
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