Stocks slip, havens rally as new COVID-19 variant spooks investors

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By Tom Westbrook SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian stocks suffered their sharpest drop in two months on Friday after the detection of a new and possibly vaccine-resistant coronavirus variant sent investors scurrying toward the safety of bonds, the yen and the dollar. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.3%, its sharpest drop since September. Casino and beverage shares sold off in Hong Kong, and travel stocks dropped in Sydney. Japan’s Nikkei skidded 2.5% and U.S. crude oil futures fell nearly 2% as well amid fresh demand fears. Scientists said the variant, detected in South…

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