Stocks declined sharply on Wednesday as investors evaluated virus risks.
The Dow and broader U.S. stock market tumbled on Wednesday, as investors continued to monitor the public health crisis unfolding due to Covid-19.
All of Wall Street’s major indices finished in negative territory midweek, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) declining 344.93 points, or 1.2%, to 29,438.42.
The broad S&P 500 Index (SPY) of large-cap stocks declined 1.2% to close at 3,567.79. All 11 primary sectors finished in negative territory, with energy shares sliding 2.9% on average. Utility stocks were down 1.9% as a whole, while healthcare fell 1.8%.
Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQ) fell 0.8% to settle at 11,801.60.
A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX (VXX) rose again on Wednesday. The so-called “investor fear index” reached an intraday high of 23.59 on a scale of 1-100, where 20 represents the historical average. The VIX would eventually settle up 3.1% at 23.42.
In economic data, U.S. housing starts continued to rise in October, as homebuilders continue to bet on a broad recovery. Groundbreaking for new homes increased 4.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.53 million units in October, the Department of Commerce reported Wednesday.
Building permits, which are a proxy for future construction plans, flat-lined at 1.545 million units.
The Final Word: For all the positive news around a Covid-19 vaccine, mass distribution of a new drug is unlikely in the near term. That means more restrictions during the holidays. As of Wednesday, the United States had over 11.4 million confirmed cases of the virus.