Dow Falls 400 Points As Questions Are Raised Over Moderna’s Coronavirus Vaccine


The market finished lower on Tuesday, following its biggest rally in six weeks on Monday, as stocks came under pressure following a STAT News report that raised questions about the trial results for Moderna’s potential coronavirus vaccine.


The Dow Jones industrial average fell 1.6%, almost 400 points, on Tuesday, while the S&P 500 was down 1% and the Nasdaq 0.5%.

Stocks accelerated their losses in the final hour of trading, after a report from STAT News raised concerns about early results from Moderna’s potential coronavirus vaccine.

The Congressional Budget Office also released a bleak outlook on economic growth and unemployment, predicting a 38% drop in second-quarter GDP as 26 million Americans remain without a job.

In a joint testimony before the Senate on Tuesday morning, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned of the “risk of permanent damage” if state economies remain closed for too long, while Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said that more policy action may be necessary to offset the long-lasting economic damage that extended joblessness can cause.

Banks were hard-hit on Tuesday: Wells Fargo dropped 5%, Bank of America and Citigroup both more than 2%.

Retail stocks also slid: Shares of Walmart fell 2%, despite the company reporting a 74% increase in e-commerce sales during the first quarter, as people stocked up on groceries and other essentials during the pandemic. 

Kohl’s saw its stock plunge 8% after the company reported its net sales dropped by more than 40%, while shares of Home Depot fell 2.5% after the home improvement retailer said its first quarter profits took a hit from higher costs related to the pandemic.

Key background

Tuesday’s volatile session comes a day after the market had its biggest rally in six weeks, with the S&P and Dow both rising by more than 3% on Monday amid rising optimism over a coronavirus vaccine. Biotech company Moderna MRNA reported positive data from its early-stage coronavirus vaccine trial, causing its shares to surge 20% and leading the market higher. After the gains on Monday, the S&P 500 has now rebounded 32% from its March 23 low and is only 13% away from its record high, set in February.

Big number: More than 1.5 million 

That’s how many confirmed cases of coronavirus have now been reported in the United States, with over 90,000 deaths so far, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

What to watch for

JPMorgan Chase JPM CEO Jamie Dimon, in a letter to shareholders on Tuesday, said that the coronavirus crisis is a “wake-up call” to create a more inclusive economy, one that “creates and sustains opportunity for dramatically more people.”

Further reading

Buffett Sells More Stocks, Including Goldman Sachs, With No ‘Elephant-Sized’ Acquisition On The Horizon (Forbes)

U.S. Executives Are More Worried About The Economy Than Last Month. Here’s Why. (Forbes)

Full Economic Recovery Unlikely Without Coronavirus Vaccine: Fed Chair Powell (Forbes)

Stocks Turn Positive, Despite Record Drop In Retail Sales And Increasing Tensions With China (Forbes)

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