Wall Street Close: COVID-19 pandemic surges, sinks US stocks

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  • Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 939.13 points or 3.42%.
  • S&P 500 fell 119.26 points or 3.52%.
  • Nasdaq Composite slid by 426.48 points or 3.73%.

The global pandemic made a new milestone for financial markets and stocks on Wall Street fell hard on Wednesday.

Soaring coronavirus cases across the world coming at a time when markets are already concerned for the US presidential elections less than a week away has sent investors to the sidelines. 

Wall Street’s fear gauge VIX spiked to its highest level since June 15th and the Dow Jones closed at the lowest levels not seen since late July.

Washington’s failure to reach a deal on new fiscal stimulus before the November 3rd election has contributed to driving all three stock indexes to close almost 3% lower. 

The combination made for losses in technology stocks and the Big Tech companies, Apple AAPL, Alphabet GOOG, Amazon AMZN and Facebook FB,  which are due to report results on Thursday, all fell about 3% or more, weighing the most on the S&P 500. 

Consequently, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 939.13 points or 3.42%, to 26,524.06, the S&P 500 fell 119.26 points, or 3.52%, to 3,271.42 and the Nasdaq Composite slid by 426.48 points, or 3.73%, to 11,004.87. 

Earnings results   

Of the 206 S&P 500 companies that have reported third-quarter earnings so far, about83% have topped expectations, according to Refinitiv data.

Benefiting from pandemic-driven shift to working from home and online learning has helped Microsoft Corp’s MSFT quarterly results surpassed analysts targets.

The shares of the giant, however, fell about 4% after rising nearly 35% so far this year. 

Meanwhile, General Electric Co GE was jumped 8% after posting a surprise quarterly profit and a positive cash flow on the back of cost cuts and improvements in its power and renewable energy businesses. GE was the biggest percentage gainer on theS&P 500.  

However, earnings on average are expected to fall 14.8% from a year earlier.   

COVID-19’s direct impact

On the coronavirus latest, twelve US states have set records for hospitalized COVID-19 patients and Germany and France announced plans to shut down.

The news led to shares of hotels, airlines and other companies that are sensitive to the spread pf the virus to sink.

For instance, the S&P 1500 airlines index and leisure related stocks fell as did the energy index SPN, with oil prices falling on demand fears.

Elsewhere, with just six days to the election, a contested outcome is a worry for investors. 

Democratic challenger Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump nationally by 10percentage points, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling, but the competition is tighter inswing states which will decide the victor.

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