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COVID-19 surge drives down shares and bond yields; oil plunges

07/19/2021 | 02:38pm EDT

* Dow and S&P 500 sink more than 2%

* Dollar rises broadly

* Oil prices fall 6% after OPEC+ resolves spat

* Government bond yields burrow lower amid COVID infection jump

NEW YORK, July 19 (Reuters) - Stocks on Wall Street fell around 2% on Monday, as a rise in worldwide coronavirus cases and deaths drove investors away from risky assets, crushing bond yields and share prices.

Oil prices plunged around 6%, driven down both by worries about future demand and by an OPEC+ agreement to increase supply.

New COVID-19 cases rose in England and Asia, with U.S. infections soaring 70% last week, dampening optimism on the economic recovery. The 10-year yield fell 9.2 basis points to 1.207%, a low last seen in February, while the S&P 500 fell for a third straight session.

"Fears over peak economic data and a resurgence in COVID cases has the market on edge today," said Ryan Detrick, Chief Market Strategist for LPL Financial, in an emailed statement. "Of course, don't forget that the S&P 500 hasn't had a 5% correction since October, so you could say we are more than due for some turbulence."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 2.5% mid-afternoon on Monday, with the S&P 500 falling just shy of 2%. The Nasdaq Composite fell 1.4%.

MSCI's all-country world index, a gauge of global shares, was down nearly 2%.

Investors are also worried about the specter of elevated inflation, which the market has long feared.

U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday acknowledged that prices for some items such as vehicles have increased but said that his administration would remain vigiliant over inflation and havoc it could wreak on the economy.

"Fear of stagflation will be a major concern for investors if a resurgence in COVID infections causes economies to slow while consumer prices continue an upward trajectory," said Peter Essele, head of investment management for Commonwealth Financial Network, in an e-mailed statement.

U.S. deaths from the coronavirus, spurred by the dominant Delta variant, are up 26%, with outbreaks occurring in parts of the country with low vaccination rates. About one in five new cases are in Florida, and the vast majority of people hospitalized for COVID are unvaccinated.

"The big concern for the market is whether we are going to see a slowdown in the global economic recovery, and this could be the overriding force which results in a bad period for equities in the weeks ahead," said Russ Mould, investment director at brokerage AJ Bell.

On Wall Street, value stocks, including financials, industrials, materials and energy dropped between 2.5% and 4.5%.

The greenback climbed to a more than three-month peak against a basket of major currencies. But the dollar is off highs as the yen and Swiss franc advanced with the decline in risk appetite.

FOREVER CHANGED?

Oil prices fell as OPEC+ agreed to boost output, causing concerns about a crude surplus. The decline was the largest since late March.

Brent crude was down $4.23, or 5.8%, at $69.36 a barrel late morning. U.S. oil was down $4.56, or 6.4%, at $67.25 a barrel.

Economists at Bank of America downgraded their forecast for U.S. economic growth this year to 6.5%, from 7% previously.

"Despite rising vaccination rates, a return to pre-Corona normality seems questionable," Ulrich Leuchtmann, head of FX and commodity research at Commerzbank, wrote in a research note.

(Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in New York; additional reporting by Marc Jones and Karin Strohecker Editing by Edmund Blair, Timothy Heritage, Dan Grebler, Peter Graff)


© Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AVIVA PLC -0.37% 403.8 Delayed Quote.24.17%
CINEWORLD GROUP PLC 5.02% 63.62 Delayed Quote.-0.87%
EASYJET PLC 3.92% 630.4 Delayed Quote.-9.79%
INTEL CORPORATION -1.04% 54.26 Delayed Quote.8.91%
INTERNATIONAL CONSOLIDATED AIRLINES GROUP, S.A. 4.94% 149.5 Delayed Quote.-6.45%
MSCI ACWI - ALL COUNTRY WORLD -0.71% 729.989 Real-time Quote.13.76%
NETFLIX, INC. 0.49% 589.35 Delayed Quote.8.99%
THE RESTAURANT GROUP PLC 9.11% 112.2 Delayed Quote.79.13%
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