Dow falls 400 points as US COVID-19 cases spike

Dow falls 400 points as US COVID-19 cases spike

Wall Street’s main stock indexes were under pressure on Monday as soaring COVID-19 infections in the United States and the continuing deadlock in Washington over a new round virus relief aid weighed on investor sentiment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 395 points or 1.39 percent at 27,940.35 at midmorning on Wall Street.

The S&P 500 – a gauge for the health of US retirement and college savings reports – was down 0.85 percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index was fractionally in the red – 0.16 percent.

All 11 S&P sectors sank at the open.

Investors are growing increasingly weary over Washington’s inability to come together on a stimulus package that would help millions of Americans put food on the table, pay their rent and mortgages, and pull businesses back from the brink of bankruptcy.

Democratic Speaker of the House of Representative Nancy Pelosi and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Sunday in back-to-back CNN interviews traded accusations and offered little comfort to the American people.

“We continue to make offer after offer after offer, and Nancy Pelosi keeps moving the goalposts,” Meadows told CNN’s State of the Union programme.

“They keep moving the goalposts,” Pelosi retorted in a separate interview on the same programme.

US President Donald Trump has offered to sign a $1.88bn package but Democrats have held out for $2.2bn.

With US elections just more than a week away, it is likely political tensions will continue to flare.

More than 59.1 million Americans have already voted for their next president as Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden enter their final full week of campaigning.

Vice President Mike Pence also hit the campaign trail on Sunday despite several members of his staff testing positive for the novel coronavirus. The White House on Monday said Pence tested negative for the virus.

The US is seeing its highest number of new COVID-19 infections in the past two days, which means business-sapping restrictions and lockdowns could be in the cards.

El Paso, Texas has already ordered citizens to stay at home for the next two weeks.

Cases are surging in Europe, where Italy and Spain imposed new restrictions, curfews, and lockdowns. Officials are warning citizens of a tough season ahead.

Officers from the Guardia Urbana local police speak with the worker of a Subway restaurant ahead of a curfew in Barcelona, Spain [File: Angel Garcia/Bloomberg]This week, Wall Street expects to see third-quarter earnings from US tech titans Apple, Amazon, Google-parent Alphabet and Facebook.

Among stocks making news on Monday:

Shares of Hasbro were down 8.47 percent in mid-morning trading in New York. The company reported third-quarter revenue and profits that beat analysts’ estimates as families splurged on boardgames during lockdowns. But the toymaker failed to impress investors after rival Mattel shattered expectations when it reported earnings last week.