Fear of COVID Outbreaks Weighs on Markets

The major U.S. stock indexes fell on Thursday on concern about the global economic comeback from COVID-19. The losses came as Japan declared a state of emergency in Tokyo for the upcoming Olympics and as countries deal with a rebound in cases because of COVID variants.

The Dow Jones Industrials finished in the red 259.86 points to 34,421.93

The S&P 500 dropped 37.31 points to 4,320.82

The NASDAQ lost 105.28 points to 14,559.79.

Losses were led by companies that would benefit from a rapid economic comeback from the virus. Shares of Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean each dropped more than 1%. United Airlines and Delta Air Lines each fell more than 1%. Retailer Nordstrom dipped 3% and Home Depot and Lowe’s both fell 1.5%.

Chip stocks also fell on concerns about the pace of the global recovery. Micron, Qualcomm, Intel and Applied Materials fell more than 1% and Nvidia dropped 2.3%. Technology stocks also declined with Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and Google-parent Alphabet all closing in the red.

Amazon bucked the trend and rose 0.9%.

Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and other financial shares declined more than 2% each on Thursday as their profitability outlook dimmed with lower rates. JPMorgan Chase and PNC Financial were also lower.

The U.S. Labor Department’s latest jobless claims data came in unexpectedly higher at 373,000, signaling a possible slowdown in the the labour picture amid the COVID recovery. Economists expected to see 350,000 first-time applicants for unemployment benefits for the week ended July 3, according to Dow Jones.

The Summer Olympics in Japan — which have already been delayed for a year — will ban spectators. This follows the state of emergency declaration for Tokyo by Japan to curb a wave of new COVID infections. The state of emergency will begin July 12 and run through Aug. 22, while the Games are scheduled from July 23 to Aug. 8.

Meanwhile the global COVID death toll continued to advance, exceeding four million on late Wednesday, as countries including India battle more transmissible variants.

Prices for 10-Year Treasurys gained ground, lowering yields to 1.29% from Wednesday’s 1.32%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices resurfaced 89 cents to $73.09 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices acquired a dollar to $1,803.10 U.S. an ounce.