Wall Street Slumps on Virus Counts

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are falling in early trading on Wall Street Monday and deepening last week's losses, as a troubling climb in coronavirus counts threatens the global economy.

The S&P 500 was 1.1% lower, following up on last week's 0.5% drop, which was its first in four weeks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 419 points, or 1.5%, at 27,915, as of 9:46 a.m. Eastern time, and the Nasdaq composite was down 0.5%.

Stocks also weakened across much of Europe and Asia. In another sign of caution, Treasury yields were pulling back after touching their highest level since June last week.

Coronavirus counts are spiking in much of the United States and Europe, raising concerns about more damage to the still-weakened economy. The U.S. came very close to setting back-to-back record daily infection rates on Friday and Saturday, and officials in El Paso, Texas are asking residents to stay at home for two weeks, for example. In Europe, British authorities are likely to tighten restrictions on more areas of the country this week, while the continent's restaurants are already feeling the pain of new virus curfews and restrictions.

Hopes are fading, meanwhile, that Washington will be able to deliver more support for the economy anytime soon. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke several times last week as they try to reach a compromise to send cash to most Americans, restart supplemental benefits for laid-off workers and provide aid to schools, among other things.

But deep partisan difference remains on Capitol Hill, and time is running out for anything to happen before Election Day on Nov. 3. Any deal reached between House Democrats and the White House also would likely face stiff resistance from Republicans in the Senate.

"While we are seeing nations attempt to stifle the spread of the virus through more localised and tentative restrictions, it seems highly likely that we will eventually see a swathe of nationwide lockdowns if the trajectory cannot be reversed," said Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at IG in London.

"Traders remain torn as they weigh up the potential impending benefits of a U.S. stimulus package and potential vaccine," he added.

Stocks of companies that need the virus to abate and the economy to return to normal were logging some of the sharpest losses in early trading.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings fell 6.7%, Marathon Oil dropped 4.7% and United Airlines lost 3.8%.

Energy stocks dropped to the sharpest loss among the 11 sectors that make up the S&P 500, falling in concert with oil prices. More than 90% of the stocks in the index were lower.

Among the market's few gainers in early trading were companies that can succeed even in a stay-at-home economy.

Etsy climbed 2.1% for one of the biggest gains in the S&P 500, while Netflix added 1.3% and Clorox added 1%.

In European stock markets, Germany's DAX lost 2.6%, and France's CAC 40 fell 1%. The FTSE 100 in London slipped 0.2%.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 dipped 0.1%, South Korea's Kospi fell 0.7% and stocks in Shanghai lost 0.8%.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 0.80% from 0.85% late Friday.