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Dow falls 652 points amid bond purchase tapering, Omicron variant concerns

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Dow falls 652 points amid bond purchase tapering, Omicron variant concerns
The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 652 points Tuesday as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank may accelerate tapering of its bond purchases and amid concerns over the Omicron variant. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 30 (UPI) -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 652 points Tuesday amid concerns about the Federal Reserve tapering its bond purchases and the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

The blue-chip index fell 1.86%, while the broad S&P 500 dropped 1.9% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite closed the day down 1.55%.

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Stocks hit their session lows after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Tuesday he expects policymakers to discuss ramping up tapering of the central bank's COVID-19 bond purchases in opening statements before the Senate Banking Committee.

American Express stock fell 3.52% and Coca-Cola stock dropped 3.16% to lead the Dow's decline.

Markets also responded to concern over the Omicron variant as Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel told the Financial Times that the company's COVID-19 vaccine would likely see a "material drop" in efficacy against the variant, while Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told CNBC that it could mean that "the vaccines protect less."

Moderna stock fell 4.36% at the end of trading as Bancel said it could take months for an Omicron-specific vaccine to ship, while Pfizer stock gained 2.54%.

Travel shares fell amid the worries as Booking Holdings fell 3.67%, Norwegian Cruise Lines dropped 3.51% and Expedia Group dropped 3.25%.

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The 10-year treasury yield fell below 1.45% after rising above 1.5% on Monday.

Oil prices also fell Tuesday as U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 5.4% to $66.18 per barrel.

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