Global markets: Stocks and oil plunge on new Covid variant fears

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Asian markets led the way, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (HSI) dropping 2.7%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 (N225) was down 2.5%. European markets also sold off heavily, with major indexes including the FTSE100, France’s CAC40 (CAC40) and Germany’s DAX (DAX) falling between 3% and 4%.
US markets, which were closed Thursday for Thanksgiving, were also slammed during Friday’s shortened trading session. Dow (INDU) futures fell more than 900 points, or about 2.5%. The S&P 500 (INX) and Nasdaq (COMP) were down nearly 2%.

US oil futures sank by more than 11% to trade below $70 a barrel. Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, suffered a similar drop to around $73.

South Africa’s health minister said Thursday that a new coronavirus variant appears to be spreading rapidly in parts of the country. It has also been detected in Botswana, Hong Kong, Israel and Belgium.

UK Health Minister Sajid Javid said the variant “may be more transmissible” than the Delta strain and…

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