- US equity markets are choppier on Wednesday amid more mixed headlines regarding Omicron/lockdowns.
- The S&P 500 ran into resistance at 4700 and has dropped back in the 4680s as a result.
- All three major US bourses still trade with substantial on-the-week gains, however.
US equity markets have been indecisive thus far during Wednesday’s session, with the S&P 500 index currently trading about 0.1% lower in the 4680s having earlier found resistance ahead of the 4700 mark. The Nasdaq 100 and Dow indices were down 0.4% each. That still leaves all three of the major US indices higher on the week by more than 3.0%. The VIX was down by about 0.30 points to close to 21.50 and continues to edge lower towards pre-Omicron levels around 20.0.
Driving the day
This week’s equity rally stalled on Wednesday as markets digested conflicting headlines regarding the effectiveness of major vaccines versus the Omicron Covid-19 variant, as well news that the UK is set to reimpose some lockdown restrictions to tackle the fast-spreading variant, triggering fears parts of the US might follow suit.
Starting with the former, late on Tuesday, a study was released by scientists in South Africa showing that two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was only partially able to neutralise Omicron. However, Pfizer and BioNTech released a separate study this morning which essentially suggested that a third booster dose would restore vaccine efficacy back in line with the efficacy that two doses had against prior Covid-19 strains.
Meanwhile, the FT reported on Wednesday that UK PM Johnson is on the verge of announcing the implementation of “Plan B” Covid-19 restrictions. This could include the requirement of vaccine passports for access to large venues, as well as a recommendation to work from home, all in an attempt to slow the spread of the Omicron Covid-19 variant.