Close Update: US Stocks, Treasury Yields Sink With Crude Oil as Concern Mounts Over New COVID-19 Strain
US stocks plummeted with crude oil and government bond yields Friday amid concern a new COVID-19 variant may prove more infectious, prompting investors to reassess the path of the global economic recovery.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 2.5% to 34,899.34, with S&P 500 sinking 2.3% to 4,594.62 and the Nasdaq Composite 2.2% lower at 15,491.66.
Energy, financials and industrials bore the brunt of the sell-off, with all sectors but healthcare in the red. US stock markets ended a holiday-shortened session at 1 pm ET.
The 10-year US Treasury yield fell 15 basis points to 1.49%. West Texas Intermediate crude oil dropped $9.49 to $68.8 per barrel.
The World Health Organization was scheduled to meet on Friday to assess a potentially problematic new COVID-19 virus strain detected in South Africa, according to media reports.
Shares of Moderna () soared 21%, the most on S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, while a different COVID-19 vaccine supplier, Pfizer () gained 6.1%. Zoom Video Communications (), another pandemic play, jumped 5.7%.
On the Dow, Boeing () was among the worst performers, with shares down 5.4% amid new curbs on travel to southern Africa. .
From midday Friday, the UK placed South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Namibia, and Zimbabwe on its so-called travel red list, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid said in a speech to the parliament on Friday. France, Israel, Singapore, and Japan have also reportedly announced travel restrictions for parts of Africa.
Delta Air Lines () shares slumped 8.4%, with Southwest Airlines () down 4.2% and JetBlue Airways () lower by 5.8%. Cruise operators Carnival () and Norwegian Cruise Line () dropped 11% each.
In the metals markets, gold was up 0.1% to $1,785.30 per troy ounce, silver fell 1.6% to $23.10 an ounce and copper was down 3.5% to $4.31 per pound.