IInvestors are bracing for a massive sell-off after Thanksgiving when the opening bell rings on Wall Street today.

Plunging stocks in Asia and Europe do not bode well for those in New York, which were down in pre-market trading.

It comes as the World Health Organization and scientists in South Africa are scrambling to determine how quickly the new variant of the coronavirus B.1.1.529 can spread and whether it is resistant to vaccines.

The worries add to a larger picture that also includes concerns about inflation, an anticipated decrease in Federal Reserve support and slowing growth.

Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote, told Bloomberg:

This is terrible news. The new Covid variant could hit the economic recovery, but this time central banks will not have enough room to act. They cannot fight inflation and stimulate growth at the same time. They have to choose.

Carl Dooley, Head of Trade Europe, Middle East & Africa at Cowen, added:

It’s a big shock to the people who wake up (and) see the news.

Uncertainty and fear will remain high and we may not return to new heights just yet.

The New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq operate today at reduced hours, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.