Stocks on Wall Street slid on Wednesday for a second consecutive session, continuing their tumultuous ride since the discovery of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus last week.
The S&P 500 fell 1.2 percent, as an early gain quickly faded after news that the variant had been detected in the United States. The Nasdaq composite lost 1.8 percent.
Early gains by oil futures also faded. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, fell about 1 percent to $65.57, erasing earlier gains of as much as 5 percent.
Shares of companies likely to be most affected by an increase in pandemic precautions were among the hardest hit. American Airlines fell 8 percent and was one of the worst performers in the S&P 500. United Airlines was down nearly as much, as were the cruise lines like Norwegian and Carnival.