The stock market fell Monday as investors remained cautious amid mixed headlines about the Omicron variant and ahead of a key Fed meeting this week when the central bank is expected to accelerate the expansion of its pandemic bond-buying program.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.9% to over 300 points, while the S&P 500 lost 0.9% and the Nasdaq Composite lost 1.4%.
Stocks retreated from record highs reached last week and the market recently rebounded from a sell-off in late November when the Covid-Omicron variant was first classified as a “concern” by the WHO.
Investors may be a little scared ahead of the Federal Reserve’s upcoming policy meeting, which ends Wednesday, as the central bank addresses record high consumer prices last month – the highest level of inflation in nearly 40 years.
A majority of central bank officials – including Fed chairman Jerome Powell – recently suggested that the central bank may need to accelerate the tapering of its $ 120 million monthly bond purchase program, which could mean future rate hikes earlier than expected.
Stocks tied to the reopening of the economy, including airlines and cruise lines, led the market down Monday, with American Airlines and Carnival stocks falling 5% each.
Vaccine makers Moderna and Pfizer gained 5.8% and 4.6% respectively, amid more positive news about the effectiveness of existing vaccines and booster shots against the Omicron variant.