Wall Street had a volatile session Wednesday with stocks giving up all their gains after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the first U.S. case of the Omicron variant.
The infected person, who arrived in California from South Africa, was fully vaccinated but did not get the booster shot.
Selling picked up after top U.S. disease expert Anthony Fauci said the molecular profile of the new COVID-19 variant suggests that it might be more transmissible and might even evade some vaccine protection… but cautioned it was too early to say.
Still, the Dow tumbled 461 points. The S&P 500 fell 53. The Nasdaq lost 283.
Not all investors were selling. Kim Forrest of Bokeh Capital Partners is looking for bargains in the market's volatility.
"So whenever the stocks are falling, I'm buying. So, I'm kind of like, oh, I don't know whenever the stock market's down it pretty much is Black Friday - or the day after Thanksgiving for me, so I'm pretty happy. The other thing is, I always maintain a much longer time frame than most portfolio managers. I'm looking out three to five years for these stocks to go up, so time is on my side. If I can get something at a discount, I'm happy."
And there were plenty of stock market discounts to be had on Wednesday. Travel and tourism stocks once again were hit hard. New protocols in the wake of the Omicron variant are expected to add to headaches for airlines with international routes. Some countries – possibly even the U.S. - will start requiring international passengers to show a negative COVID-19 test regardless of their vaccination status. United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said the new variant will have a near-term impact on bookings. His company's stock was down roughly 7.6 percent. Delta was down close to 7.4 percent. American Airlines fell nearly 8 percent.
Salesforce had a rough day but not because of the health crisis. The software giant is facing stiff competition from Microsoft and guided quarterly estimates lower. The stock tumbled roughly 12 percent.