S&P 500, Dow sink to late-Sept lows on virus woes

Cornelia Mascio
Ottobre 29, 2020

Although October 28 is statistically the best trading day of the year, the main indexes dropped as new cases and hospitalizations set records in the Midwest, and Europe eyed new lockdowns.

Shares of hotels, airlines and other leisure-related companies sensitive to COVID-19-related turmoil sank, with the S&P 1500 airlines index falling 4.3 percent. The energy index lost about 3% as oil prices fell on fears of lower fuel demand.

Meanwhile, Wall Street's fear gauge hovered at its highest level in almost two months on jitters over the outcome of the election.

Polls showing a tightening of the race in Florida and some other swing states have increased concerns about a potentially contested outcome, even as Joe Biden's lead over President Donald Trump has widened in some key states.

"As people run through the likely scenarios of what could happen with the election, there's no short-term good answer", he said.

The broad-based sell off left investors with few places to hide in stocks.

Of the 206 S&P 500 companies that have reported third-quarter earnings so far, about83% have topped expectations, according to Refinitiv data.

Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 939.13 points or 3.42%.

The S&P 500 opened lower by 61.54 points, or 1.81 percent, at 3,329.14, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 200.45 points, or 1.75 percent, to 11,230.90 at the opening bell.

Microsoft Corp's quarterly results surpassed analysts targets, benefiting from a pandemic-driven shift to working from home and online learning.

The S&P 500 Index fell nearly 3 per cent, headed for the biggest drop since early September, amid a surge in Covid-19 hospitalisations, especially in the Midwest.

Semiconductor designer Advanced Micro Devices Inc fell 4.1% as it agreed to buy Xilinx Inc in a $35 billion all-stock deal.

Meanwhile, General Electric Co GE was jumped 8% after posting a surprise quarterly profit and a positive cash flow on the back of cost cuts and improvements in its power and renewable energy businesses. The S&P 500 decreased 119.65 points, or 3.53 percent, to 3,271.03.

"Uncertainty about COVID-19-related mobility restrictions and USA politics mean we should expect volatility to remain elevated for the balance of the year", chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management Mark Haefele said in a note.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 10.08-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 6.28-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P/TSX composite index was up 138.31 points at 15,724.88.

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