Wall Street losses accelerate, with the Dow dropping 700 points

FAN Editor

Stocks fell sharply on Friday amid concerns over the rising number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. and its impact on the economic recovery. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 700 points, or 2.7%, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.1% each. Those losses put the major averages down at least 1.4% each for the week.

“Coronavirus cases are spiking and reopenings are being delayed, which at a minimum will impact earnings,” said Tom Essaye, founder of The Sevens Report. “The resurgence in coronavirus cases is raising concerns that the rebound may be short-lived as voluntary or potentially more government mandated economic shutdowns are becoming increasingly likely.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday the state will roll back some of its reopening measures as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to rise. “At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars,” Abbott said in a release. 

Florida announced it would suspend “on premises consumption” of alcohol at bars in the state after reporting a surge of nearly 9,000 new virus cases. In Arizona, the number of cases jumped by 5.4%, topping a seven-day average of 2.9%.

Shares of companies that would benefit from an economic reopening tumbled. United Airlines, American and Delta all slid more than 4%. Cruise operator Norwegian Cruise line dropped about 4%. 

Jon Hill, rate strategist at BMO, said virus fears are making investors rethink positions ahead of the weekend, which is similar to the trading action seen in March and April. This is favorable for bonds and negative for stocks, as investors worry the economy may not rebound as sharply as expected. “It’s very possible some of the optimism we saw in the datas could pull back hard in July and August.”

The U.S. 5-year Treasury yield dropped to a record low of 0.29%. The 3-year rate also slid to an all-time low of 0.17%. Yields move inversely to prices. 

Banks under pressure after Fed stress test

“While I expect banks will continue to manage their capital actions and liquidity risk prudently, and in support of the real economy, there is material uncertainty about the trajectory for the economic recovery,” Fed Vice Chair Randall Quarles said in a statement.

The announcement sent some bank shares lower on Friday. Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase both dipped more than 3%. Wells Fargo slid 4% and Goldman Sachs fell 4.75%. Bank stocks were coming off sharp gains, rallying more than 3% during regular trading Thursday.

Meanwhile, Nike shares slid 3.6% on the back of a surprising quarterly loss for the apparel giant. The company reported a loss of 51 cents per share and revenue of $6.31 billion for its fiscal fourth quarter. Nike’s quarterly revenue reflected a drop of 38% on a year-over-year basis.

The losses on Friday came despite a record rise in consumer spending in May. The Commerce Department reported Friday that spending increased 8.2% last month, a positive sign for the U.S. economy amid a growing number of negative coronavirus headlines.

The government’s report on how much Americans spent on goods and services in May was the largest one-month gain dating back to records beginning in 1959. Consumer spending represents more than two-thirds of economic demand in the U.S.

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