A late afternoon downturn accelerated across Wall Street markets Wednesday as more bullish news on the success of the Pfizer COVID-19 virus (it’s 95% effective with all groups), was offset by the soaring toll of new infections, rising deaths, and lockdowns.
The Dow was up 147 points at one stage before tipping over and slowly easing until a late rush took it, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq sharply lower in the final minutes. It was the second down day for Wall Street in a row.
In fact, the Dow’s losses topped 300 points and doubled in the final minutes.
The Dow closed down 344.93 points or 1.16% at 29,438.42 (after earlier touching a new intraday high). The S&P 500 fell 1.16% as well, or 41.73 points to end at 3,567.79 and the Nasdaq did best of all with a smaller fall of 0.82% or 97.74 points to a closing level of 11,801.60.
The relative outperformance by Nasdaq was easy to explain – so-called stay at home stocks got a boost after public schools in New York City were closed immediately because of the soaring COVID cases.
Shares in video conferencing company Zoom Video rallied more than 3%, while Peloton gained nearly 2% (it makes home gym equipment and add ons).
But shares of major technology companies led the broader market lower. Apple Microsoft, Alphabet, and Facebook all fell at least 1%.
Target shares though were up 2% after a solid third-quarter figures a day after rival Walmart produced a similar solid result. Shares in Lowes Co, a hardware chain like Home Depot, fell 6% with a solid result but weak outlook.
The US is recording more than 157,000 new coronavirus cases day, on average. That’s another new record and nearly 30% higher than infection levels a week ago. Deaths are nudging toward 1,100 a day.
Every state in the US is seeing infections rise. Some have locked down – even Republican-run states.
The ASX 200 futures market slid from 24 point gain at 6.45 am to a small fall of around 17 points at 8am. That was after Wednesday’s 0.5% rise which took the ASX 200 to the highest close in 9 months.
With higher bank dividends now on the horizon, local investors will again be chasing the shares of the big four – CBA, Westpac, ANZ and NAB. That is likely to offset any concerns from the sudden shutdown in South Australia because of the latest COVID-19 outbreak.
While oil prices rose, as did iron ore markets, gold slid – the settlement on Comex saw a 0.6% or $US13 fall to just over $US1,873, but after-hours trading into Asian time saw the loss top $US16 an ounce as the price dipped to around $US1,869.
Oil settled at $US41.82 for West Texas Intermediate crude futures in New York, a gain of 1%. The gain was trimmed in after hours trading to around 0.6% with prices dipping lower.
The price of 62% Fe iron ore fines delivered to northern China edged up 90 cents to $US126.34 a tonne, the highest they have been for two months.