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Dow Drops as COVID Concerns Mount

Surging infections worldwide are affecting investor confidence.

A fresh wave of coronavirus fears are sweeping both the European Union and the United States, and with a vaccine still missing in action, investors are starting to lose faith. This morning the German Dax index dropped by 4.4% after German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the country would be undergoing a limited lockdown to stem the tide of infection. The French CAC 40 dropped 3.3% amid rumors that France may be issuing another stay-at-home order. With countries that have generally fared better than the US in unpleasant conditions, US investors have begun to expect the worst.

At the start of Wall Street trading this morning, the Dow dropped 608 points, or 2.2%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq faired about the same, dropping 2.3% and 2.6%, respectively. According to the most recent data from Johns Hopkins University, US COVID-19 cases have risen by a daily average of 71,832 in the past week. COVID-related hospitalizations are also up by at least 5% in 36 states.

“I think there’s going to be a call for lockdowns the likes of which we’ve seen in Chicago,” said CNBC’s Jim Cramer. “The lockdowns without the stimulus equals what we’re seeing.”

“It’s a shame because, had there been stimulus, we’d then be focusing on earnings and the earnings are actually pretty darn good,” he said.

In the event of a renewed pandemic lockdown in the States, travel-related companies like airlines and cruise lines would take another sizeable hit. Already, fears of a new lockdown have caused stocks in Delta Air Lines and Royal Caribbean to drop by 2% and 3.9%, respectively.

Uncertainty about COVID-19-related mobility restrictions and US politics mean we should expect volatility to remain elevated for the balance of the year,” said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer for global wealth management at UBS, in a note.

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