BY THE NUMBERS
The Dow, after Friday's plunge, was set to bounce nearly 200 points to start the week as investors monitor the highly mutated Covid omicron variant. The 30-stock average sank 905 points, or 2.5%, in Friday's post-holiday shortened session, in a global sell-off triggered by South Africa's discovery of what the World Health Organization later called a "variant of concern." The S&P 500 tumbled 2.3% and the Nasdaq slipped 2.2%. The three major benchmarks were negative for the week. (CNBC)
* Bill Ackman says the omicron Covid variant could end up being bullish for stocks (CNBC)
After Friday's sharp slide, the 10-year Treasury yield was up to over 1.54% on Monday. U.S. oil prices were up 5% to more than $71 per barrel Monday after Friday's 13% fall. Bitcoin was up 4% to over $57,000 on Monday after sinking to roughly $53,500 last week. (CNBC)
IN THE NEWS TODAY
White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that Americans need to be prepared to do "anything and everything" to fight omicron. Fauci said it will take about two weeks to have more definitive information on omicron's transmissibility, severity and other characteristics. FaucI told the ABC program "This Week" that it's still "too early to say" whether lockdowns or new mandates will be appropriate. (CNBC)
The WHO urged countries around the world not to impose flight bans on southern African nations due to concerns over omicron. The U.S. plans to restrict travel for non-U.S. citizens from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi. The variant has been found in the U.K., Israel, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Australia and Hong Kong. (CNBC)
* South African doctor who first spotted omicron explains the symptoms (CNBC)
* China could double down on zero-Covid approach, analysts say (CNBC)
Vaccine makers, including Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, said they're studying omicron even as it remains to be seen how the variant responds to current shots or whether new formulations are required. Moderna said it could roll out a reformulated vaccine early next year. Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel told CNBC on Monday that while the variant is likely present in most countries, travel restrictions can slow down the spread and save lives. (CNBC)
U.S. retailers are estimated to generate online sales of up to $11.3 billion on Cyber Monday, a decline in growth from a year earlier. Traffic at retail stores on Black Friday dropped 28.3% compared with 2019, as Americans shifted more of their spending online and kicked off their shopping earlier in the year, according to preliminary data from Sensormatic Solutions. However, Black Friday traffic was up 47.5% from last year. (Reuters & CNBC)
Over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend, moviegoers in the U.S. and Canada spent around $142 million on tickets for movies like "Encanto," "House of Gucci" and "Ghostbusters: Afterlife." The haul is not as robust as previous years, where ticket sales often topped $250 million, but showcases consumer confidence in returning to cinemas amidst the pandemic. (CNBC)
* AMC, Sony offering NFTs to people who purchase advance Spider-Man tickets (CNBC)
STOCKS TO WATCH
Moderna continued rallying, jumping more than 11% in early morning trading Monday after gaining 20% on Friday. Major airlines ticked up as investors bought the dip following new travel suspensions in Asia and Europe. Carnival, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings each rose more than 3% amid the broader rebound in travel stocks from Friday's omicron-driven sell-off.
Merck fell 1.8% after Citi downgraded its stock to neutral from buy, saying development struggles for the company's HIV drug islatravir will hurt Merck's long-term potential.
Allbirds rose 2.5% after several analysts initiated coverage of the stock. Morgan Stanley and Bank of America both posted a price target of $23, implying 16% upside to Friday's close.
Coinbase rose more than 2% as the price of bitcoin rebounded, after selling off with the broader equities market on Friday. Other crypto-related equities got a lift too, with Microstrategy rising 3.4%. Tesla and Square added more than 1%.
Zoom Video fell almost 2%, moving in the opposite direction of travel stocks and following a 5.7% jump on Friday. Other stay-at-home stocks dipped slightly Monday morning too, including Peloton, Netflix and Teladoc.