ASX set to dive as COVID variant rattles global markets

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Airline stocks quickly sold off, with United Airlines dropping 9.6 per cent and American Airlines falling 8.8 per cent.

“COVID had seemingly been put in the rear-view mirror by financial markets until recently,” Douglas Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets. “At the least, (the virus) is likely to continue throwing sand in the gears of the global economy in 2022, restraining the recovery (and) keeping kinks in the supply chain.”

Even Bitcoin got caught up in the selling. The digital currency dropped 10 per cent over the weekend. At 5.20am AEDT, it is fetching $US53,823 ($75,556), according to Bitstamp.

One sign of Wall Street’s anxiety was the VIX, the market’s measurement of volatility that is sometimes referred to as its “fear gauge.” The VIX jumped 53.6 per cent to a reading of 28.54, its highest reading since January before the vaccines began to be widely distributed.

Fearful of more lockdowns and travel bans, investors moved…

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