The US stock market finished firmly into negative territory after reversing earlier gains on Wednesday, 18 November 2020, registering second straight session of losing streak, amid renewed concerns about new restrictions and lockdowns as a result of the recent surge in coronavirus cases.
At the close of trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average index dropped 344.93 points, or 1.16%, to 29,438.42. The S&P 500 index fell 41.74 points, or 1.16%, to 3,567.79. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index declined 97.74 points, or 0.82%, to 11,801.60.
The major averages slid firmly into negative territory after lingering near the unchanged line earlier in the day, amid renewed concerns about new restrictions and lockdowns as a result of the recent surge in coronavirus cases. A number of states are imposing new restrictions due to the spike in cases, with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announcing that public schools in the city will be closed as of tomorrow. The tighter restrictions come as data from John Hopkins University showed there were nearly 162,000 new coronavirus cases and 1,707 deaths on Tuesday. The daily death toll represents a six-month high.
Concerns about the economic impact of the lockdowns overshadowed more upbeat news regarding the coronavirus vaccine candidate being developed by Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX). Pfizer and BioNTech announced that a final analysis showed that its vaccine candidate was 95% effective against Covid-19. The companies said they planned to apply for emergency use authorization of a coronavirus vaccine "within days" following clinical trials. Earlier this week, Moderna gave similarly encouraging early data about the vaccine it's separately developing.
Pfizer (+0.8%) and its partner BioNTech (+4%) revealed a 95% success rate at the conclusion of their COVID-19 vaccine trial. Retailer Lowe's shares dipped 8.2% after its earnings missed analysts' expectations. Shares of Target (+2.3%) advanced on soaring sales.
Boeing shares fell 3.2%, despite the Federal Aviation Administration lifting its ban on the 737 Max aircraft. The Dow Jones index closed
In US economic data, US Housing Starts Surge In October- US housing starts surged up by 4.9% to an annual rate of 1.530 million in October after soaring by 6.3% to an upwardly revised rate of 1.459 million in September, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Wednesday. With the bigger than expected increase, housing starts reached their highest annual rate since coming in at 1.567 million in February. The spike in housing starts came as single-family starts skyrocketed by 6.4% to a rate of 1.179 million, while the rate for units in buildings with five units or more tumbled by 3.2% to 334,000. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said building permits came in at an annual rate of 1.545 million in October, virtually unchanged from the revised rate seen in September. Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, had been expected to rise by 0.5% to a rate of 1.560 million from the 1.553 million originally reported for the previous month.
US Business Inventories Climb By 0.7% In September- US business inventories climbed by 0.7% in September after rising by 0.3% in August, partly reflecting a jump in retail inventories, the Commerce Department released a report on Tuesday. The Commerce Department said retail inventories spiked by 1.7% in October after rising by 0.5% in September. Wholesale inventories also rose by 0.4% in October following a 0.5% increase in September, while manufacturing inventories were unchanged for the second straight month. Meanwhile, the report said business sales increased by 0.6% in October after climbing by 0.9% in the previous month. Retail sales surged up by 1.5% in October following a 1.1% jump in September. Manufacturing and wholesale sales also inched up by 0.3% and 0.1%, respectively. With inventories and sales both rising, the total business inventories/sales ratio in October was unchanged from September at 1.32.
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