Headlines to start the week:
— A new covid variant, named Omicron, was identified in South Africa. This prompted short term travel bans to the region by several countries.
— Initial jobless claims dropped to 199,000, the lowest level since 1969.
— Durable goods orders fell by half a percent, surprising economists. This was led by lowered orders for aircrafts and their parts.
— Existing home sales hit a nine-month high after rising 0.8% in October as the US housing market continues to roll. This was a positive surprise as economist were predicting a significant decline.
— The European Central Bank (ECB) reviewed the preparedness of the European banking sector to climate and environmental risks. Major shortfalls were found, with no banks meeting expectations.