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YOUR MONEY with Mark: Why COVID-19 affects the stock market, plus holiday shopping season forecast

News of the COVID-19 omicron variant sent stocks tumbling on Friday, Nov. 26 - but why?

MOLINE, Ill. — "What in tarnation" happened on Wall Street on Friday, Nov. 26? Stocks plummeted over concerns of the new COVID-19 variant - called omicron. Take a look:

Credit: Quad Cities Investment Group

Our GMQC Financial Expert Mark Grywacheski, from the Quad Cities Investment Group, said the sell-off is a result of investors not knowing enough about this new variant.

"How contagious is it? What's the mortality rate? Does the current set of vaccines protect us against it? And from an economic standpoint, does this new variant force nations around the world to start closing their borders again and to reimpose those government mandates and restrictions on businesses and consumers?"

That is the last thing businesses want as the holiday shopping season goes into high gear. Overall, Grywacheski says retailers are optimistic about how it's been going so far:

"The initial analytics indicate this was a fairly strong 5-day shopping weekend. But the big picture is the entire November/December holiday shopping season. In years past, we've had a strong November only to have December sales fall off a cliff. So, we'll have to wait until the final numbers come out in January to make a final assessment."

To see how much Americans are expected to spend this season, click the video above for our full conversation.