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New omicron COVID variant throws wrench into pandemic recovery

Investors assess impact on economic normalization and Fed tapering

A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Nov. 26: Investors sold off risk assets, from stocks and oil to cryptocurrencies.   © Reuters

NEW YORK/TOKYO -- Worries over the new coronavirus "variant of concern" have triggered a flight from risk in financial markets around the world as investors scramble to assess the implications for the global economic recovery and monetary policy.

Following sell-offs in Asian and European stocks with the detection of the omicron variant, the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday fell 2.5% for its steepest decline of the year. Economically sensitive energy and financial stocks were particularly hard hit.

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