'Fear is the market's worst enemy' -analyst

Wall Street's main indexes were sharply lower on Friday, with travel stocks bearing the brunt of a selloff triggered by the discovery of a new and possibly vaccine-resistant coronavirus variant in South Africa.

The external shock comes amid a period of strong gains for the stock market with Wall Street not far from record highs.

The World Health Organization said in a statement that it had assigned the new variant the Greek letter Omicron.

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