Stocks fall on Wall Street as coronavirus spreads in Europe


New York, Stocks are falling on Wall Street in morning trading Thursday, extending the market’s pullback this week as optimism that Congress will deliver another round of stimulus for the economy wanes and new data show another weekly surge in the number of Americans seeking unemployment aid.


The S&P 500 was down 1%. The benchmark index is now on track for its first weekly loss in three weeks. The selling was widespread, with technology, health care and companies that rely on consumer spending driving the decline, said AP.


The pullback follows a broad sell-off in markets overseas as rising infections in Europe led governments in France and Britain to impose new measures to contain the coronavirus. Treasury yields were lower, while the price for U.S. crude oil also headed lower.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 224 points, or 0.8%, to 28,290 as of 11:06 a.m. Eastern time. The Nasdaq composite dropped 1.4%. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks was off 1.4%.


Stocks have been mostly climbing this month, but have pulled back this week as talks between Democrats and Republicans in Washington over another economic stimulus package drag on, dimming investors’ hopes for a deal that can deliver more aid for the U.S. economy in the near term.


The government’s latest weekly tally of unemployment claims underscores how the economy continues to be hobbled by the pandemic and recession that erupted seven months ago.


The Labor Department said Thursday that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose last week to 898,000, a historically high number that exceeds analysts forecasts.


The report follows recent data that have signaled a slowdown in hiring.


The economy is still roughly 10.7 million jobs short of recovering all the 22 million jobs that were lost when the pandemic struck in early spring.


The 10-year Treasury yield was down to 0.71% from 0.73% late Wednesday.


Investors continued to weigh the latest batch of earnings reports from major U.S. companies. Several reports so far have been better than expected, but the health crisis continues to cloud the outlook.


Source: Bahrain News Agency