Dow Jones dives 500 points as omicron fears hit US markets

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The Dow Jones plummeted more than 500 points Friday as omicron fears pushed US stocks to a lower closing. 

The blue-chip Dow was down 532 points, or 1.48%, to 35,365 at the final bell.

The S&P 500 fell 48, or 1.02%, to 4,620. The Nasdaq was off 10 points, or 0.07%, to 15,169, recovering slightly from a lower opening.

Fear and uncertainty surrounding the new coronavirus variant pushed the VIX volatility index up 5.1% to 21.62.

The dollar index was up 0.66% to 96.68, while the yield on 10-year US Treasury notes fell 0.7% to 1.412%.

Precious metals reversed course to slip slightly, with gold shedding 0.1% to $1,797 per ounce and silver decreasing 0.5% to $22.38.

Crude prices extended their losses as Brent crude fell 2.5% to $73.16 per barrel and US benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude lost 2.7% to $70.42.

The price of Bitcoin continued its decline, falling another 3.4% to $46,380, while other altcoins were down as much as 7% in highly volatile trading in the cryptocurrency market.

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