A new variant of COVID has been deemed a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization, sparking new fears of renewed restrictions on live event attendance and causing a sharp drop in stocks, including Live Nation (NYSE: LYV). The omicron variant has been detected in numerous countries since first being identified in South Africa, with Canada’s health minister disclosing the first North American case on Sunday.

Following the news of the new variant of concern, Live Nation’s stock took a beating on Friday, plummeting from its Wednesday close of $112.61 to as low as $98.50 before rebounding to close at $103.53, a drop of over 10 percent. While things have recovered somewhat in the first half of Monday’s trading (LYV is up to $107.95 as of shortly after noon on the east coast), the market is clearly shaken up on the variant news.

Friday’s drop marked the first time that Live Nation’s stock has fallen below $100 at any point during the day’s trading since October 29. From that point it skyrocketed up to a record high of nearly $130 on a positive Q3 2021 earnings report, but has since been dragged down steadily in the wake of the Astroworld tragedy and now bad news regarding COVID.

Thus far, no events have announced any changes to plans due to the new COVID variant, which still has far more unanswered questions than anything else. While concern is high that the new variant could prove more resistant to existing vaccinations, due to the number of mutations in its structure compared to the variants that vaccines were engineered to address, it remains to be seen whether or not that is the case. Experts have continued to strongly urge all who have not yet been vaccinated to do so and help slow the spread of COVID and the ability of it to mutate new variants such as omicron.

“[Vaccination] is a best way to protect yourself against delta, which is still very much with us in the U.S., and omicron if it comes to the U.S., which it almost certainly will at some point,” said National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins Sunday on Morning Joe. “We don’t know what happens if omicron ends up in a place where there’s already a lot of delta — would it be able to compete or not? That’s one of the big questions we don’t know.”

Other event-related stocks have also taken a hit in the wake of the omicron news, with Vivid Seats (NASDAQ: SEAT), MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM), Disney (NYSE: DIS) and AMC Entertainment (NYSE: AMC) all dipping with the news.

Last Updated on November 29, 2021