By Ovunc Kutlu
ANKARA (AA) - Major indices in the US stock market plummeted at the opening on Monday, amid worries concerning rising cases of the omicron coronavirus variant and risks surrounding record-high inflation.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 588 points, or 1.66%, to 34,775 at 9.42 a.m. EDT (1442GMT). The S&P 500 was down 64, or 1.4%, to 4,555.
The Nasdaq declined 210 points, or 1.4%, to 14,960.
US consumer prices rose 6.8% in November, marking its largest 12-month increase since June 1982 and creating risks for investors who expect inflation to remain high until the Federal Reserve ends tapering in March and makes its first rate hike in May.
The state of New York saw its highest single-day total of coronavirus cases on Friday since the pandemic began, as the Empire State reported 21,027 positive cases.
Amid inflation uncertainty and omicron fears, the VIX volatility index, known as the fear index, jumped 18.4% to 25.54 at this time.
The dollar index was down 0.2% to 96.37, and the yield on 10-year US Treasury notes declined 1.1% to 1.387%.
Precious metals fell slightly with gold losing 0.13% to $1,795 per ounce and silver decreasing 0.57% to $22.22.
Crude prices took a dive as the omicron variant lowers the global oil demand outlook. Brent crude was trading at $70.22 per barrel with a 4.5% loss, while the US benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude was at $66.94 -- a 5.5% decline.