South Africa's health minister announced Thursday that the newly discovered COVID-19 variant appears to be spreading rapidly in parts of the country. Health officials also expressed concern that the mutation of this new strain (B.1.1.529) could result in higher immune evasion and transmissibility. Vaccine efficacy against these mutations remains unknown.
Markets in Asia did not bode well with the news on Friday with Japan's Nikkei 225 (-2.53%), China's A50 (-0.96%), Hong Kong's Hang Seng (-2.67%) and South Korea's KOSPI 50 (-1.67%) flashed red to close the week. Europe didn't catch a break either with UK's FTSE 100 (-2.58%), France CAC 40 (-3.26%), Germany's DAX 40 (-2.6%), Spain's IBEX 35 (-3.68%), and Switzerland's SMI 20 (-1.25%) trending lower for the day (12:20 PM, GMT +1). U.S. markets are expected to tag along with their own mini crash after a day off on Thursday Thanksgiving.
European investors can buy the regional dips through ETFs. For a global exposure, the iShares Core MSCI World UCITS ETF, Xtrackers MSCI World UCITS ETF, Lyxor MSCI World UCITS ETF or HSBC MSCI WORLD UCITS ETF could be the way to go. For a European focus, iShares STOXX Europe 600 UCITS ETF, Xtrackers Euro STOXX 50 UCITS ETF or Lyxor EURO STOXX 50 UCITS ETF are options. Emerging markets could be targeted through iShares Core MSCI EM IMI UCITS ETF, Xtrackers MSCI Emerging Markets UCITS ETF or Amundi Index MSCI Emerging Markets UCITS ETF, among others. For U.S. exposure, iShares Core S&P 500 UCITS ETF, Invesco EQQQ Nasdaq-100 UCITS ETF or Xtrackers Russell 2000 UCITS ETF are highly popular.
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