over 2 years ago • 1 min
Investors sold stocks and bitcoin on Friday and headed for the safety of haven assets like gold and the Japanese yen as scientists said they’d discovered a heavily mutated form of coronavirus in South Africa.
Futures on the S&P 500 dropped 1.6% as of 7:50am in New York as US markets prepared to reopen following the Thanksgiving holiday. Bitcoin sank 8% to a seven-week low of $54,242.
Meanwhile, investors pushed up the price of the safest assets: gold climbed by 1% and the yen strengthened 1.2% against the US dollar. The price of US government bonds (a.k.a. Treasuries) gained as traders pared bets on how soon the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates.
Scientists in South Africa are examining the new virus variant – currently known as B.1.1.529 – to understand how quickly it might spread and whether it has any resistance to the current crop of coronavirus vaccines. The market reaction to the news serves to underline how dependent future investment returns are on a steady return to normal following the pandemic. Investors will be hanging on every new piece of information coming out of South Africa in the coming days.
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