S&P 500, Dow dip on concerns over rising COVID-19 infections

22 Novembre, 2020, 19:53 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Wall St. plunged as pandemic resurgence offset vaccine hopes

NEW YORK, Nov 20 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Dow edged lower on Friday as investors headed into the weekend grappling with disappointing fiscal stimulus news and uncertain efforts to combat a spiraling COVID-19 pandemic with vaccines.

Throughout the week, the ebb and flow of vaccine news and spiking infections had investors oscillating between economically sensitive cyclical stocks and pandemic-resistant market leaders.

Stay-at-home plays such as Zoom Video Communications Inc and Netflix Inc, which have outperformed throughout the health crisis, helped curb the NASDAQ's loss.

In tandem, a growing concern over Trump Administration's last-ditch attempt to coup against the state alongside a number of vengeful attempts to make it harder for the President-elect Joe Biden to overhaul a swathe of tormented trade ties, had added to further woes.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 219.95 points, or 0.75%, to 29,263.28, the S&P 500 lost 24.22 points, or 0.68%, to 3,557.65 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 49.74 points, or 0.42%, to 11,854.97.

Meanwhile, citing that the markets would likely to remain tumultuous until an approval and a mass-scale distribution of a potential pandemic vaccine, a Chief Investment Officer at Lenox Wealth Advisors in New York, David Carter said, "Markets are still stuck in a push-and-pull between the dramatic rise of new COVID cases versus apparent progress on vaccines". "This is likely to continue until we have an approved and distributed vaccine".

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Friday defended his decision to end several of the Fed's pandemic lending programs on December 31, saying Congress should use the money to help small U.S. companies with grants instead.

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"This dust-up between the Fed and the [US Department of the] Treasury could have serious implications, as markets want to see the two institutions working well together", Carter said.

Record infection numbers in the USA have caused COVID-19 hospitalizations to soar 50 percent and have prompted a new round of school and businesses closures, curfews and social distancing restrictions, hobbling economic recovery from the deepest recession since the Great Depression.

Pfizer Inc rose 1.2% as the company said it has applied to USA health regulators for emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine.

Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, industrials were down the most, while utilities were enjoying the largest percentage gains. The drugmaker's shares rose 1.4%, and provided the biggest lift to the S&P 500.

However, the World Health Organisation advised doctors against treating Covid-19 patients with Gilead's remdesivir drug, stating that it had "no meaningful effect" on survival or need for ventilation.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.06-to-1 ratio; on the NASDAQ, a 1.12-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 14 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq Composite recorded 132 new highs and eight new lows.

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