Pan­demic- re­lated wor­ries spur sell­ing, eras­ing re­cent gains

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS -

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

The Stan­dard & Poor’s 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 f irst weekly de­cline af­ter two weeks of gains. The in­dex is still up 8.8% so far this month.

Tech­nol­ogy, f inan­cial 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 across the U. S.

The S& P 500 fell 24.33 points to 3,557.54. The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age slid 219.75 points, or 0.7%, to 29,263.48. The Nas­daq com­pos­ite 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 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. Data sug­gest it may be 95% ef­fec­tive at pre­vent­ing mild to se­vere COVID- 19 disease.

If ap­proved, a lim­ited num­ber of doses could be­gin be­ing ad­min­is­tered as early as next month, though widescale vac­ci­na­tions prob­a­bly wouldn’t hap­pen un­til af­ter a po­ten­tially bru­tal win­ter.

Other vac­cines are un­der de­vel­op­ment, and the hope is that one or more could get the econ­omy run­ning closer to nor­mal next year.

On the pes­simistic side, more gov­ern­ments around the world are bring­ing back re­stric­tions on daily life to slow the spread of the virus. Surg­ing coro­n­avirus counts and hos­pi­tal­iza­tions also threaten to frighten con­sumers enough to keep them hun­kered at home and drag on the econ­omy.

Cal­i­for­nia’s gov­er­nor an­nounced late Thurs­day an overnight cur­few on most res­i­dents, and the Cen­ters for Disease Con­trol and Preven­tion is ask­ing Amer­i­cans not to travel for Thanks­giv­ing.

The U. S. Trea­sury Department also said late Thurs­day that it will not ex­tend sev­eral emer­gency loan pro­grams set up with the Fed­eral Re­serve to help mar­kets and the econ­omy.

The an­nounce­ment got some im­me­di­ate push­back from the Fed, which has been keep­ing the ac­cel­er­a­tor f loored on its sup­port for the econ­omy while ask­ing politi­cians in the White House and Congress to do the same. The cen­tral bank said it “would pre­fer that the full suite of emer­gency fa­cil­i­ties” cre­ated dur­ing the pan­demic re­main.

But Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steven T. Mnuchin said clos­ing the emer­gency loan pro­grams could al­low Congress to re- ap­pro­pri­ate $ 455 bil­lion to other re­lief pro­grams.

Democrats and Repub­li­cans in Wash­ing­ton have been dead­locked in ef­forts to de­liver an­other round of f inan­cial sup­port.

The ma­jor­ity of stocks in the S& P 500 fell, with tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies tak­ing the heav­i­est losses. Ap­ple dropped 1.1%, while In­tuit . dropped 3.8%.

Travel- re­lated stocks also fell. Nor­we­gian Cruise Line slid 4.9%, and Car­ni­val fell 4.5%.

Wil­liams- Sonoma rose 6.6% af­ter re­port­ing stronger profit and rev­enue for the lat­est quar­ter than an­a­lysts ex­pected.

The yield on the 10- year Trea­sury slipped to 0.83% from 0.84% late Thurs­day.

Euro­pean mar­kets closed mod­er­ately higher, and Asian mar­kets ended mixed.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.