Dow plunges more than 900 points on fears over new COVID-19 variant

The markets reacted to news of travel bans, WHO meetings revolving around worrisome new strain.

Updated: November 26, 2021 - 1:08pm

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 905 points lower Friday amid escalating fears about the new COVID-19 variant.

While the Dow fell 2.53%, the S&P 500 lost 2.27%, and the Nasdaq slipped 2.23%.

Stocks declined as the EU, U.K. and Israel moved Friday to ban travel from several southern African nations following the emergence of the B.1.1.529 variant of the coronavirus, which has a lot of mutations.

Equities saw broad-based declines from industrials to banking and, especially, travel stocks, including airlines, cruise lines and hotels. Asian markets also felt an impact. Both Japan's Nikkei Index and China's Hang Seng ended the day down more than 2%. In the U.S., markets were closed Thursday for Thanksgiving, and close early at 1:00 p.m. EST on Friday.

Health officials in South Africa said Thursday that the new variant is "very different" from previous strains of the illness.

The WHO was to meet on Friday to discuss the new South African variant, but a spokesperson for the organization said that for now implementing travel bans is "being cautioned against."

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