U.S. stocks are lower in early action, after flirting with fresh all-time high during last session, as the markets continue to assess the ultimate impact of the Omicron COVID-19 variant. After recent positive news about the variant possibly being milder than its delta counterpart and the potential effectiveness of a vaccine booster, officials signal that the course of the pandemic is yet to be determined. In other equity news, Hormel Foods Corporation bested Q4 earnings and revenue expectations, while delivering record sales and earnings for the quarter, and GameStop delivered mixed results, posting a wider-than-expected loss. In economic news, initial claim came in lower than expected, but continuing claims were higher than the consensus estimate. Treasuries are mixed, with the yield curve flattening, and the U.S. dollar is gaining ground. Crude oil prices and gold are lower. Asia finished mostly higher, and Europe is lower amid omicron concerns.