Dow craters 943 points in worst day since June as virus spike spurs new lockdowns

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  • US stocks cratered on Wednesday as a spike in COVID-19 cases prompted new lockdowns in Europe.
  • A 40% surge in COVID-19-related deaths in Europe over the past week spurred Germany and France to announce new restrictions. Bars, restaurants, and gyms will close while schools remain open.
  • Tech stocks led the market lower as the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook, and Alphabet testified at a congressional hearing.
  • Oil prices tumbled, dragging energy stocks lower. West Texas Intermediate crude fell as much as 6.6%, to $36.97 per barrel.
  • Watch major indexes update live here.

US stocks cratered on Wednesday as a spike in COVID-19 cases prompted new lockdowns in Europe.

The Dow Jones industrial average’s 3.4% decline marked its worst single-day drop since June 11, while the S&P 500’s 1.9% drop was its largest since September 23.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel struck a deal for a “lockdown light,” in which bars, restaurants, gyms, and movie theaters will close for at least a month starting this weekend while schools and nurseries remain open, Bloomberg reported.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced a new national lockdown to begin this Friday and last until December 1, though, like in Germany, schools will remain open, according to Bloomberg.

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4 p.m. ET close on Wednesday:

  • S&P 500: 3,271.03, down 3.5%
  • Dow Jones industrial average: 26,519.95, down 3.4% (943 points)
  • Nasdaq composite: 11,004.87, down 3.7%

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The Cboe Volatility Index, or VIX, climbed as high as 40.52, its highest point in more than four months. The VIX has traded at an average of 26.30 since the start of August after registering multiyear highs in March.

While coronavirus case records have fueled concerns about the pace of economic recovery, the prospect of timely fiscal support in the US is all but exhausted. The Senate adjourned on Monday and isn’t set to reconvene until November 9, putting to bed any remaining hope for a stimulus bill. As the recovery slows, some fear that new aid will arrive too late to keep the economy from tumbling again.

Next week’s presidential election has also contributed to the upswing in volatility. While elections typically escalate price swings, the chance of delayed results this year has investors bracing for extended market choppiness.

Read more: Market wizard Tom Baldwin started trading with $25,000 and grew it to an estimated $30 million. He shares 6 timeless trading rules that helped him reach millionaire status before his first year was through.

Technology stocks led the market lower on Wednesday as the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook, and Alphabet testified before Congress on Section 230 legislation, while Microsoft’s earnings outlook disappointed investors.

First Solar’s third-quarter earnings report bested analysts’ expectations. Deutsche Bank posted a better-than-expected third-quarter profit, and its debt-trading unit posted a 47% surge in business.

The billionaire investor Stanley Druckenmiller said a blue-wave election outcome could hurt stocks in the long term.

Gold lost ground on Wednesday, falling as much as 2%, to $1,869.53 per ounce.

Oil prices tumbled, which dragged energy stocks lower. West Texas Intermediate crude fell as much as 6.6%, to $36.97 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, fell 6%, to $38.75 per barrel, at intraday lows.

Read more: ‘I’m basically going to be long growth’: Billionaire investor Chamath Palihapitiya has hauled in a 997% return since 2011. He details the 5 sectors shaping his long-term investment playbook.

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