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Stocks drop as the U.S. reports its first case of the Omicron variant

Yahoo Finance's Ines Ferre breaks down how markets are digesting the first confirmed Omicron COVID case in the U.S.

Video transcript

- Welcome back to Yahoo Finance. Well, markets all over the place today in a highly volatile session. Stocks had rebounded after yesterday's sell-off-- the Dow up by more than 500 points at one point, but then the sharp pullback on confirmation of the first confirmed case of the variant-- the Omicron variant here in the US in California. And tracking what the reaction has been in the markets for us is Yahoo Finance's Ines Ferre.

INES FERRE: And, Karina, are taking a look at the Dow right now, hugging the flat line-- unbelievable, because earlier today, the Dow was up around 500 points at the highs of the session, losing steam throughout the day, and definitely losing all of its steam really when that announcement came out that the first case of the Omicron variant was detected in California. The NASDAQ is down about 1/10 of a percent right now, the S&P 500 still sticking in green territory, up 3/10 of a percent.

I want to mention the Russell 2000, because the small caps index was up more than 2% today at the highs of the session. But you can see this steady decline into red territory. And it's right now down 2/10 of a percent. Taking a look at where we're at with the sector action, we are seeing that utilities and health care, these have been the leaders today in green territory.

The travel stocks have come under pressure-- increasing under pressure throughout the session, especially in the last hour. Delta down 6%, Carnival down more than 4%, American down 6%, because you not only have concerns about the American variant keeping people from flying, but also if the return to business travel gets pushed back, this could set back the airlines.

We're watching the cruise lines that are lower as well. And if I'm just pulling up a four-day chart here, take a look. Remember last Friday when these stocks absolutely tanked? Well, you can see the declines since last Friday overall in the four-day chart-- some of these in correction territory. Also, taking a look at the NASDAQ 100, I want to point out Apple, because Apple has been kind of a leader of hope here.

Apple up more than 1% today. If it continues in green territory, it will end at another high today. Some investors have been seeing this company as a flight to safety, analysts pointing out its cash flow and just a flight to safety for investors amid such uncertainty.

- All right, Ines Ferre, the numbers, as you say, a little misleading, because they are flat now-- but high volatility, though.

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