Fears of a new and possibly vaccine-resistant coronavirus variety rocked companies benefiting from this year's economic rebound on Friday, including AMC Entertainment, United Airlines, and Carnival.

The South African variant caused numerous countries to tighten border controls and investors to flee Asian and European shares for safer assets.

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United, Delta, and American Airlines all lost between 8% and 9% in pre-market trading, indicating that U.S. stocks were likely to join the selloff.

Hotel chains Hyatt, Marriott, and Hilton all down between 4.7 and 6%, while cruise lines Carnival, Royal Caribbean Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Line all dropped 10%. AMC Theatres saw a 6.2 % drop in its stock price.

The variation features an uncommon combination of mutations, experts say, and it may be able to dodge immune responses and be more transmissible.

"The economic recovery has been remarkable, and the only thing that could entirely derail it would be a more dangerous variation. Time will tell if we should be concerned, but investors are selling ahead of potentially bad news "LPL Financial's senior market strategist, Ryan Detrick, said.

The announcement of the variation, on the other hand, spurred a rise in last year's stay-at-home darlings such as Peloton, Netflix, and Zoom Video Communications, driving them up between 6% and 9%.

"The investment gods have given the late-to-sell investors a second chance to sell since the equities that did well during the COVID lockout, like Peloton or Zoom, are likely to do well again," said Sam Stovall, CFRA Research's chief investment strategist.

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