Bill Ackman says the Omicron virus variant could actually boost the US markets if its symptoms end up being mild

  • In Health
  • 2021-11-30 08:24:51Z
  • By Business Insider
Stock market Dow Jones trader New York
Stock market Dow Jones trader New York  
  • The investor Bill Ackman said the Omicron variant could boost the US market if symptoms were mild.

  • The doctor who first reported the strain said she saw "extremely mild" symptoms in her patients.

  • Much is still unknown about the new variant, which has prompted concern among health officials.

The new Omicron coronavirus variant could end up boosting the US stock market, said the hedge fund manager Bill Ackman.

"A thought," Ackman wrote in a tweet Sunday evening. "While it is too early to have definitive data, early reported data suggest that the Omicron virus causes 'mild to moderate' symptoms (less severity) and is more transmissible. If this turns out to be true, this is bullish not bearish for markets."

Ackman, the founder and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, added in a separate tweet that he thought it would most likely be bullish for the equity market and bearish for the bond market.

As noted in a Monday report by CNBC, Ackman gave an emphatic warning about the coronavirus in a March 2020 TV appearance, urging President Donald Trump to shut down the country for a month in an attempt to control the coronavirus.

So far, the Omicron variant has been causing jitters in the stock market, with futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping Tuesday and oil sliding.

The Omicron variant was first reported to the World Health Organization on Wednesday by South Africa. There is still a lot of uncertainty swirling around the variant, including whether its dramatic number of mutations make it more infectious. The possibility that it might be has gotten the attention of health officials including at WHO.

Moderna's CEO has also voiced his concern about the efficacy of the current crop of vaccines in fighting Omicron, as opposed to how effective they were against the Delta variant, saying that he thought there was going to be a "material drop" in efficacy.

However, the South African doctor who first reported the variant said that the people she saw with the variant had mild symptoms and did not have a cough or lose their sense of smell or taste.

Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said this week that it is "almost a certainty" that Omicron has made its way to the US. Meanwhile, NIAID Director Anthony Fauci has warned Americans that while an Omicron case has not been detected in the US yet, with the degree of transmissibility currently seen in the variant, it "almost invariably is going to go all over."

Despite these fears, President Joe Biden on Monday reassured the country that the Omicron variant "is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic," adding that he did not see the need for additional travel restrictions or lockdowns at the moment.

Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all adults in the US get their booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine to make sure they have as much immunity against the variant as possible.


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