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Global equity markets and US stock futures fell after South Africa raised alarm over a new, fast spreading stress NS coronavirus, triggering concern about the prospect of new travel restrictions or other restrictions that could limit economic activity.

US stocks set for a short trading session after one day thanksgiving holidayMarket participants said a global move was likely fueled by thin trading volume.

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Stock-index futures lost ground, suggesting US markets could come under pressure when they reopen. S&P 500 futures fell 1.7%, while futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell about 2.1%.

Asian stock markets plunge as traders see virus cases in Europe

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Benchmark US Treasury yields also remained lower than their pre-holiday levels. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note declined by 0.099 per cent to 1.545%, according to tradeweb, Bond yields fall as prices rise.

Oil prices tumbled, with US crude futures for the first month falling 5.5% to $74.13.

South Africa’s government said on Thursday it was considering new public-health restrictions to include the new version, called B1.1. Scientists say it carries a large number of mutations that could make it more transmissible and allow it to evade certain immune responses triggered by previous infection or vaccination. This type has been detected in a South African traveler in Hong Kong. The South African rand weakened sharply against the dollar, with $1 buying around 16.3 rand.

In Asia-Pacific, Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng index was down 2.7%, while Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was down 2.5%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 retreated 1.8%.

“Everyone is panicking about this new version, which is coming out of South Africa,” said Rob Carnell, head of research and chief economist for the Asia-Pacific region at ING.

It was not yet clear whether the new strain would prove more contagious or deadly than the delta version, but investors were concerned about potential travel restrictions, Mr Cornell said, adding to the scenario where current vaccines were ineffective, requiring widespread lockdowns. Might be possible.

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“There probably aren’t many people active in the markets at the moment. This is likely to cause a bigger movement than you expect,” he said.

Travel stocks were the biggest losers. Japan Airlines, rival ANA Holdings and Australia’s Qantas Airways fell between 4.5% and 6.5%. The Japanese yen, which usually strengthens during times of heightened market tension, strengthened against the dollar.

“For now, COVID is back on the table,” said Takeo Kamai, head of execution services at CLSA in Tokyo. Although there are no confirmed cases in Japan linked to the new version, investors worried it could backfire on the government’s plans. gradual reopening of the economy, Mr. Kamai said. Tokyo recently said it would allow short-term business travelers.

Technology stocks also ended after Bloomberg reported that China had asked Didi Global to prepare plans to delist it in the US. The Wall Street Journal has previously reported The riding giants were considering going private, partly to placate Chinese officials, and regulators in China have Suggested listing it in Hong Kong,

Shares of SoftBank Group, whose vision fund is a major backer of Didi, fell more than 5% in Tokyo. Technology stocks listed in Hong Kong fell broadly, with heavyweight Tencent Holdings down nearly 3%.