Travel and tourism companies hit particularly hard in ensuing selloff
Stocks in the United States and elsewhere sank Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly falling more than 1,000 points, as the new "omicron" coronavirus variant appeared to be spreading across the globe.
The S&P 500 index dropped 106.84 points, or 2.3 percent, to close at 4,594.62. It was the worst day for Wall Street’s benchmark index since February.
Authorities worldwide reacted with alarm on Friday to the coronavirus variant found in South Africa, with the European Union and Britain among those tightening border controls as researchers sought to establish whether it was vaccine-resistant.
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The price of oil fell about 13 percent, the biggest decline since early in the pandemic, amid worries of another slowdown in the global economy. That in turn dragged down energy stocks. Exxon shares fell 3.5 percent while Chevron fell 2.3 percent.
Travel and tourism companies were particularly hard hit in the sell off, with Delta Air Lines closing 8.3 percent lower, United Airlines finishing down 9.6 percent and American Airlines losing 8.8 percent.