Stocks drop as COVID-19 leads to market’s worst week in months


US stocks tumbled again Friday as renewed fears about the coronavirus pandemic put Wall Street on pace for its worst week in months.

The Dow Jones industrial average sank as much as 127.87 points, or 0.4 percent, to 26,531.24 in early trading a day after new COVID-19 infections hit a new record high in the US, adding to concerns about lockdowns once again closing chunks of the economy.

The blue-chip index is reportedly headed for its worst week since March after shedding more than 1,800 points for the week at Friday’s intraday low. The benchmark S&P 500 was likewise set for its deepest weekly losses since June after dropping about 0.6 percent after the open, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell as much as 0.8 percent following mixed earnings from Silicon Valley titans such as Apple, Amazon and Google.

“Markets will remain vulnerable to more bad news on the COVID-19 front from the US and Europe, while the nuances of the US election will leave equities to follow other asset classes into the hunkering-down mode,” OANDA senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley said in a commentary.

All three major indexes posted gains Thursday after the US posted record 7.4 percent growth in gross domestic product for the third quarter, a strong rebound from the pandemic-fueled contraction in the spring.

But investors have grown worried that the rampant coronavirus could mark a return to the lockdowns that kneecapped the economy in the first place. France and Germany recently imposed new restrictions to control the virus, as have US cities such as Chicago and El Paso, Texas.

Wall Street is also bracing for uncertainty ahead of Tuesday’s presidential election, which could take days or weeks to wrap up as officials count piles of mail-in ballots.

“There are a lot of unanswered questions and if they remain unanswered next week, markets will have to slog through it all just as our country will,” said David Bahnsen, chief investment officer at the Bahnsen Group.

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