The Morning Call

Wall Street slips amid wor­ries of surg­ing coro­n­avirus

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Stocks closed broadly lower on Wall Street on Fri­day fol­low­ing another choppy day of trad­ing as wor­ries about the wors­en­ing pan­demic un­der­cut grow­ing op­ti­mism about a com­ing coro­n­avirus vac­cine.

The S&P 500 fell 0.7%, eras­ing its gains from a day ear­lier. The bench­mark index, which climbed to an all-time high on Mon­day, posted its first weekly de­cline af­ter two weeks of gains. The index is still up 8.8% so far this month.

Technology, fi­nan­cial and industrial com­pa­nies drove much of the sell­ing, which turned volatile in the fi­nal hour of regular trad­ing. Trea­sury yields were mostly lower, a sign of cau­tion in the mar­ket. Stock in­dexes around the world made modest moves.

Traders are balanc­ing cau­tious op­ti­mism that a work­ing coro­n­avirus vac­cine will be widely dis­trib­uted next year against jitters over surg­ing virus cases and the eco­nomic im­pact of new re­stric­tions be­ing put in place across the U.S. on peo­ple and busi­nesses to limit the spread.

“It’s a mar­ket con­cerned about growth,” said Quincy Krosby, chief mar­ket strate­gist at Pru­den­tial Fi­nan­cial. “That’s the big un­cer­tainty.”

The S&P 500 fell 24.33 points to 3,557.54. The Dow Jones Industrial Av­er­age slid 219.75 points, or 0.8%, to 29,263.48. The Nas­daq com­pos­ite dropped gave up an early gain and dropped 49.74 points, or 0.4%, to 11,854.97.

Small com­pany stocks held up bet­ter than the rest of the mar­ket. The Russell 2000 small-cap index rose 1.21 points, or 0.1%, to 1,785.34.

Wall Street sud­denly be­gan to teeter-tot­ter this week af­ter a big Novem­ber rally swept both the S&P 500 and Dow to record highs. Ev­i­dence is pil­ing up for in­vestors both for hope about the economy’s prospects next year and for fear about the dam­age ac­cru­ing in the shorter term.

Adding to the op­ti­mistic side of the ledger Fri­day was Pfizer and BioNTech say­ing they’ll sub­mit an ap­pli­ca­tion with U.S. reg­u­la­tors for emer­gency use of their vac­cine can­di­date.

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