How major United States stock indexes fared Friday

Daniel Fowler
September 20, 2020

Stocks on Wall Street fell sharply at Thursday's opening, with the technology-laced Nasdaq Composite Index leading the rout, a day after the Federal Reserve issued a dire assessment of the U.S. economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Eastern time, and the Nasdaq composite was down 0.1%.

At 10:08 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 172.82 points, or 0.62%, at 27,859.56, and the S&P 500 was down 28.53 points, or 0.84%, at 3,356.96.

Of the 11 major S&P indexes, industrials, materials and energy have gained more than 2% so far this week, while communication services and consumer discretionary have posted the biggest declines. Smaller stocks also fell, with the Russell 2000 index of small caps giving up 5.82 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 1,536.78.

Bank stocks slipped 1.1%, while the broader financials subindex fell 1.0%, a day after the Federal Reserve pledged to keep interest rates low for a prolonged period to lift the world's biggest economy out of a pandemic-induced recession.

Oracle Corp fell 0.3% after Reuters reported the US Commerce Department plans to issue an order on Friday that will bar people in the United States from downloading Chinese-owned messaging app WeChat and video-sharing app TikTok starting on Sept 20.

President Donald Trump's targeting of the Chinese tech industry has caused intermittent worries in the market about a possible retaliation against the USA industry.

CDC drops controversial testing advice that caused backlash
Silvia Chiang, a pediatric infectious diseases expert at Brown University who applauded the change announced Friday". That includes anyone who has been in close contact with a person who tested positive, the agency said.

Big Tech stocks already stumbled sharply this month on worries that their prices have grown too expensive following their virtuosic performance through the pandemic. Apple was down 0.8%, and Microsoft was down 0.5%, but Facebook was up 0.5%.

But they suddenly lost momentum two weeks ago, causing the market to swing with them. Apple was down 3.2 per cent.

Volatility is likely to be higher on Friday related to a quarterly expiration of US stock options, stock index futures and index option contracts, known as "quadruple witching". The latest look at existing USA home sales is also scheduled for next week.

Treasury yields remain very low, showing the powerful strength of the Federal Reserve and continued expectations by bond investors for only modest economic growth and inflation. Brent crude, the worldwide standard, fell 0.8% to $42.95 per barrel.

German biotech firm BioNTech SE rose 2.7% as it said it was buying a production site from Swiss drugs giant Novartis to boost output of its potential coronavirus vaccine by several million doses.

Benchmark US crude oil fell 0.2 per cent to USD40.89 to per barrel. Brent crude, the global standard, dropped 0.1% to $43.24 per barrel.

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