Canada's main stock market, the Toronto Stock Exchange, closed Friday down 487 points or 2.25% at 21,126 as the W.H.O. officially classified the new covid-19 variant as one "of concern".
Reflecting the concerns among individual stocks here, pure oil play MEG Energy (MEG.TO) was down more than 9% on fears that a fresh breakout of the virus will hurt demand for oil, while Air Canada (AC.TO) fell 9% on the prospect of air travel being shut down, or at least restricted, again.
Of commodities, gold failed to hold the US$1,800 mark on Friday, posting just a small gain even as the dollar and bond yields plunged on worries over the new Covid-19 variant. Gold for February delivery settled up $1.200 to US$1,788.10 per ounce, after trading as high as US$1,819.30 during the session.
Elsewhere, West Texas Intermediate crude oil plunged 13% as renewed Covid-19 worries have emerged amid concerns the market may be oversupplied because of the release of strategic reserves. WTI oil for January delivery closed down at US$68.15 per barrel, Marketwatch reported, the lowest since Sept.9. January Brent crude, the global benchmark, was last seen down $9.24 to US$72.98 while Western Canada Select was down just $0.45 to US$58.54 per barrel.