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Omicron Stock Market

US stocks fell sharply on Friday, amid mixed economic data along with a series of hawkish remarks by Federal Reserve officials, while fears over the new Omicron Covid-19 variant mounted. A stronger-than-expected ISM report reignited fears of inflationary pressure and rising interest rates. At the same time, the US economy added the least jobs this year 210k (vs 550k, expected), the unemployment rate eased more than expected to 4.2%, while the labor force participation rate ticked up to 61.8%. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite plunged as much as 1.9% to the lowest since October 18th, dragged down by Apple and Meta Platforms Inc losses. The iPhone maker slipped on news that at least nine US State Department employees had their iPhone hacked. Meanwhile, the S&P dropped 0.9% to trade near levels not seen since October 15th, amid a sharp fall in big techs stocks. At last, the Dow Jones slipped 0.2%, partially offsetting last session gains.

The Nikkei 225 Index gained 1% to close at 28,030 while the broader Topix Index advanced 1.63% to 1,958 on Friday, as transportation and export-reliant industries were lifted by lighter-than-expected travel curbs, while richly valued technology firms continued to reel from expectations of higher US interest rates and foreign outflows. Gains were led by shipping companies Kawasaki Kisen (12.87%), Nippon Yusen (2.13%) and Mitsui O.S.K. (5.25%), along with airlines, railways and heavyweight exporters including Ana Holdings (5.14%), Japan Airlines (5.46%), East Japan Railway (4.07%), Central Japan Railway (3.45%), Toyota Motor (1.64%) and Daikin Industries (3.6%). Meanwhile, declines in the technology sector were led by SoftBank Group (-0.71%), Tokyo Electron (-0.47%) and Fronteo Inc (-22.84%), among others. The Japanese indices marked their second week of losses amid an Omicron headline-driven market.

European stock markets erased early gains and closed near 2-month lows on Friday, in a volatile end of week that saw miners shed roughly 3%. For the week, the pan-European Stoxx 600 erased 0.5% and Frankfurt’s DAX took a 0.9% loss, while London’s FTSE 100 stood out with a 0.9% rise. The CAC 40 Index closed 0.4% down at 6,765.52 on Friday. the index finished the volatile week slightly higher. On the corporate front, Safran (-3.4%) and Airbus (-2.5%) led the losses. On the other hand, the energy sector finished on the green, tracking oil prices, TotalEnergies (0.7%).

The BSE Sensex retreated by 764.83 points or 1.31% to close at 57,696.46 on Friday, snapping the 2-day gaining streak. Capital goods and banks were the main draggers. 26 out of 30 stocks on BSE Sensex ended in red. Among the individual stocks, Power Grid Corporation dragged the most (-4.03%), followed by heavyweights Reliance (-3.05%), Kotak Bank (-2.58%) and Asian Paint (-2.29%). Meanwhile, Larsen and Toubro rose by 0.72% as it tied up with Goldman Sachs-backed green energy producer, ReNew Power for green hydrogen projects in India. Elsewhere, investors wait for the decision of the monetary policy meeting, scheduled next week. On the week, the BSE gained by 1.03%..

The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.94% to close at 3,607 while the Shenzhen Component Index rose 0.86% to 14,892 on Friday, as consumer staples, semiconductor, utilities and industrial companies lifted the Chinese market. Gains in mainland stocks were led by Wuliangye Yibin (3.01%), Kweichow Moutai (1.96%), Luzhou Lao (6.37%), Will Semiconductor (3.44%), Gigadevice Semiconductor (3.95%), Cecep Solar (10%), China Energy Engineering (9.92%) and Power Construction (8.87%). Meanwhile, Hong Kong-listed Chinese technology giants slumped after Didi Global announced that it will delist from the New York Stock Exchange and pursue a listing in Hong Kong, succumbing to pressure from Chinese regulators concerned about data security. The move signaled to the markets that the current industry supervision of technology firms in mainland China will continue.

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