Dow, S&P 500 drop amid new COVID-19 concerns

Dec. 22 (UPI) — The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 slid on Tuesday amid growing COVID-19 concerns despite Congress finally passing a long-awaited relief package.

The Dow ended the day down 200.94 points, or 0.67%, and the S&P 500 dropped 0.21% as Tesla stock dropped 1.46% in its second day on the index, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.51% with Apple stock rising 2.85%.

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Travel-related stocks struggled as the United States surpassed 18 million coronavirus cases and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, said it was reasonable to assume a new strain of the virus has already arrived in the country.

American Airlines dropped 3.85% and United Airlines slid 2.46%, while Norwegian Cruise Line fell 6.86%, Carnival declined 5.94% and Royal Caribbean dipped 2.83%.

Geoff Meacham, Bank of America research analyst said, however, that the new variant is “unlikely to impact near-term therapeutics, return to normal.”

“We don’t expect this new variant to derail ongoing treatment efforts — including vaccines,” Meacham said in a note.

Tuesday’s losses also came after Congress passed a $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill including direct stimulus payments of $600 to individuals late on Monday night.

“We’ve had positive news on the vaccine and the fiscal deal, so there’s probably not a catalyst to drive stocks meaningfully higher in the next few weeks,” Brian Levitt, global market strategist at Invesco, told The Wall Street Journal.

With less than two weeks of trading left in 2020, the S&P has risen 14% on the year, the Dow has gained 5% and the Nasdaq Composite has climbed 42.7% as tech stocks flourished amid the pandemic.