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Business News Roundup, Dec. 6, 2021

Developing data on the COVID-19 Omicron variant, Fed plans to end a pandemic-era stimulus program a few months early, rosy projections for holiday spending, and the first confirmed case of the Omicron variant in Connecticut are among the top business news items this morning.


The World Health Organization says the Omicron variant of COVID-19 appears to be more contagious than the Delta variant, which drove a spike in cases earlier this year. However, it is still unclear how it impacts current COVID-19 vaccines and whether it creates more severe infections.

Federal Reserve officials are preparing to end pandemic-era monthly asset purchases earlier than originally planned in response to persistent inflation and dropping unemployment. The Fed is looking to complete its taper of the stimulus program by March rather than June.

Business trends

The National Retail Federation says holiday spending is on track to beat its projections this year, with sales in November and December so far proceeding at a pace that could result in an 11.5 percent boost compared to 2020. The trade group had forecasted that sales this year would grow by 8.5 to 10.5 percent.


Connecticut has confirmed its first case of the new Omicron variant, in a fully vaccinated Hartford County man. Governor Ned Lamont said the development is not a cause for alarm and urged residents to continue getting vaccinated or getting their COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.

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