Dow futures under pressure amid new wave of lockdown measures

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Wall Street

Omicron variant triggers new lockdowns

U.S. stock futures were lower on Monday, implying stocks will kick off the holiday-shortened week with losses as market participants closely monitored developments around the omicron variant of Covid-19.

As of 5:20 a.m. ET, futures tied to the blue-chip Dow were marked 416 points, or 1.18% lower to 34,836. S&P 500 futures dropped 59.25 points, or 1.29% to 4,550.75 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures plunged 224.75 points, or 1.42% to 15,563.25.

On Sunday, the White House’s top medical adviser said the omicron variant is “raging around the world,” and President Joe Biden intends to give a stark warning of what the winter will look for those who are yet to be vaccinated.

The Netherlands announced new lockdown measures over the weekend and the possibility of more restrictions being announced before the Christmas and New Year holidays continues to loom large over several countries in Europe as the variant spreads at a rapid rate.

Meanwhile, for yet another month this year, U.S. stock traders will be able to enjoy a long holiday weekend away from their trading setups. That’s because the market is closed on Friday, Dec. 24, in observation of Christmas Day, which falls on a Saturday.

Biden’s domestic spending bill suffers major blow as Manchin says he will reject it

Sen. Joe Manchin has said that he is not going to support President Joe Biden’s key $2 trillion spending bill, popularly known as the Build Back Better Act.

The centrist Democratic lawmaker from West Virginia told “Fox News Sunday” that after five-and-half months of talks with members of his party, he couldn’t “vote to continue with this piece of legislation.”

“I just can’t. I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there,” Manchin said. “This is a no on this legislation. I have tried everything I know to do.”

The bill includes new social investments in areas such as climate change, childcare, and a number of tax hikes on the large companies and the wealthy.

Manchin’s vote is important in a 50-50 split Senate, and his stand means it has a very high chance of never passing Congress.

Crude futures slide, weighed by omicron fears

Crude futures were also trading in red territory early Monday amid concerns over the fast-spreading omicron variant.

A number of countries worldwide are responding to the rising infection rate due to the coronavirus omicron variant by announcing travel restrictions to prevent the spread.

Meanwhile, in a closely watched report on Friday, energy services firm Baker Hughes Co said that U.S. oil and gas rig count increased by three to 579 in the week ended Dec. 17, representing its biggest surge since April 2020.

As of 5:20 a.m. ET, U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures dropped $2.59, or 3.66% to $68.27 a barrel. Global Brent crude futures sank $2.18, or 2.97% to $71.34 a barrel.

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