Overnight Market Brief – 6 December 2021

December is usually a good month for stocks, but this one is setting up to be bumpy so far as fear, uncertainty, and doubt are creeping back into financial markets. Uncertainty driven by the variant has prompted many investors to sell stocks to lock in this year’s gains, although choppy market conditions are enticing shorter-term traders to scalp for deals. The VIX is now at a nine-month high, and small-cap stocks are going through a meaningful route. The Russell 2000 is down about 10% since early November. Treasury yield curves continue to flatten, and US junk bond prices fell last month by the most in more than a year. Both are clear indications of how the emergence of a new strain of coronavirus has shifted investor sentiment away from the stocks and bonds of companies that are most vulnerable. On top of that, Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell has indicated an openness to a faster reduction in the pace of asset purchases, even as cautious sentiment manifested earlier in November due to high inflation and decelerating economic growth.

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