U.S. stocks plunged sharply on Monday but regained substantial portion of lost ground in the final hour and the tech-laden Nasdaq very nearly managed to move into into positive territory towards the closing minutes of the session.
Rising worries about surging coronavirus cases in several countries across Europe and reports that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is considering another national lockdown to act as a “circuit-breaker” to stop the spread of the virus sent stock prices crashing today.
In addition to coronavirus news, the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg also appeared to be weighing on the markets as it is feared a fight over the nomination of her replacement could lead to further delays in the passage of another coronavirus relief bill.
The sell-off in European bank stocks amid allegations of illegal accounts and funds transfers by several leaders over nearly two decades, and tensions between the U.S. and China also contributed to the bearish sentiment in the market.
The Dow, which was down nearly 950 points at 26,715.15 at one stage, recovered to close at 27,147.70, down 509.72 points or 1.84 percent. The S&P 500 ended down 38.41 points or 1.16 percent at 3,281.06, off the day’s low of 3,229.10. The Nasdaq settled with a loss of 14.48 points or 0.13 percent at 10,778.80, a long way up from the session’s low of 10,519.49.
Shares of oil companies declined sharply as crude oil prices plunged over 4 percent amid concerns about outlook for energy demand.
Trave-related stocks were under pressure due to spikes in coronavirus cases, and the overall weak sentiment took a toll of several stocks from other sectors as well.
General Electric (GE) plunged nearly 8 percent. DuPont (DWDP), Caterpillar (CAT), Honeywell International (HON), Merck (MRK), JP Morgan Chase (JPM) and Boeing (BA) lost 3 to 6 percent.
Among the stocks to buck the trend, Apple (APPL) gained more than 3 percent. Walmart (WMT) and Microsoft (MSFT) both ended higher by more than 1 percent.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region ended weak. The Japanese market was closed for a holiday.
The major European markets ended sharply lower, led by declines in banking and travel-related stocks.
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