US stocks down 2% with new COVID-19 variant risks
WORLD ECONOMY

US stocks down 2% with new COVID-19 variant risks

Volatility index up 9.5%, while Bitcoin retracted from 20% rally to settle for 4.6% gain

News Service AA

US stocks closed lower Friday to end the last trading day of January as new variants of the novel coronavirus increased perceived risks of investors for global economic recovery.

The Dow Jones fell 620 points, or 2%, to 29,982, while the SP 500 declined 73, or 1.9%, to end at 3,714.

The indexes posted their worst weekly plummet since October as they closed below their 50-day moving average for the first time since November.

The Nasdaq fell 266 points, or 2%, to end at 13,070 with Twitter, Facebook and Microsoft sliding by 2% each. The tech-heavy index finished the week down 3.5% but was up 1.4% in January.

The VIX volatility index, also known as the fear index, was up significantly by 9.5% to 33.9. The index skyrocketed 61.6% Wednesday to its highest level since Nov. 2.

At the close, gold was at $1,845 per ounce, up 0.14%, while silver remained more resilient at $26.9 with a 2.1% gain.

Brent crude remained relatively unchanged at $55.09 per barrel, but US West Texas Intermediate was at $52.19 -- a 0.3% daily loss.

Stocks driven higher in recent days by small retail investors such as GameStop and AMC Entertainment soared 69% and 54%, respectively, after broker app Robinhood lifted restrictions on their trade late Thursday.

After business mogul Elon Musk added Bitcoin to his bio on Twitter, the crypto heavyweight was up 20% at one point before retracting to $34,713 and settling for a 4.6% gain at the close.

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