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US stocks fall sharply as tech tanks amid rising COVID-19 rates

For the week, the DJIA and S&P 500 fell 6.5% and 5.6%, respectively, while Nasdaq lost more than 5%

Apple Inc. - Wall Street heads for lower open amid pandemic and election jitters

4:05pm: US equities fall yet again as election day nears

US stocks fell sharply to close their worst week since March amid rising coronavirus (COVID-19) infections and Washington’s failure to approve a fiscal stimulus package. 

Tech stocks also drove the market down as traders braced for the November 3 election.  

On the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 157 points, or 0.59%, to 26,501. The S&P 500 dropped 1.21% to 3,269 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq tanked the most -- 2.45% to 10,911. 

Shares of Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) declined 5.60% to $115.32 apiece on a 20% decline in iPhone sales and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) retreated 21% to $41.35 a share on missed growth expectations.  

12:20 pm: Dow drops another 280 points 

The DJIA was down 281 points, 1.1%, to 26,377.6; the Nasdaq Composite fell 248 points, 2.2%, to 10,937; and the S&P 500 lost 42 points, 1.3%, to 3,268.

Rising coronavirus cases continue to dominate investor sentiment, putting Wall Street on pace for its worst week since March.

"The mood on Wall Street is bearish as traders are fearful for the health situation," CMC Markets UK analyst David Madden wrote. "Uncertainty surrounding the presidential election is a factor as it is likely to have a big impact on the proposed stimulus package — when it might be delivered and what size of a programme could be revealed."

Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) plunged after the social media network's monetizable daily active users (mDAUs) clocked in at 187 million in the most recent quarter, missing Street estimates of 195 million.

The stock lost 20% to $41.94 a day after hitting a five-year high.

9:40 am: US markets stumble out of the gate

Wall Street found itself on the back foot in early trading on Friday as market nerves were rattled by the upcoming election and spiking cases of coronavirus.

Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.12% at 26,626 while the S&P 500 slipped 0.2% to 3,303 and the Nasdaq fell 0.52% to 11,126.

The negative sentiment in New York seemed to have been mostly unaffected by US personal income data, which increased by 0.9% in September, more than expected and rebounding from a 2.5% decline in August.

The number may provide some relief about the state of the economy, however, it did little to prevent the general malaise.

8:08 am: Wall Street heads for lower open amid pandemic and election jitters

Wall Street’s main indices are pointing towards a lower open on Friday as guidance from several big tech companies stoked jitters over the impact of the pandemic amid ongoing uncertainty over next week’s election.

Spread-betters are predicting that the Dow Jones Industrial Average will open around 182 points lower, while the S&P 500 is expected to start down 23 points and the Nasdaq is predicted to fall 105 points.

While most of the big tech firms beat expectations after the close on Thursday, a lack of an official outlook from corporations such as Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) for the crucial Christmas period, as well as a cautious assessment for 2021 from Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) have left traders unsure about whether the explosive growth can continue as the effects of the pandemic eat away at the struggling economy.

A continued rise in Covid-19 cases globally also ensures that the market remains on the back foot as we head into the weekend, said Joshua Mahony at IG, adding that the rising infections could also prove decisive in the presidential race.

“The futures markets point towards a US-led selloff today as new coronavirus cases in the country topped 91,000 with just days left until the election. From a US-perspective, the prospect of a dramatic rise in Covid-cases should bolster Biden’s election prospects.”

However, with Democrat challenger Joe Biden seemingly more willing to lock down the US in a bid to control the virus, Mahony said a victory for the Democrat leader could see markets tumble as the prospect of a nationwide lockdown overshadows stimulus optimism.

Four things to watch for on Friday:

  • Major figures reported today will likely be from oil majors ExxonMobil and Chevron, both of which are scheduled to report third quarter numbers amid a difficult time for the oil industry
  • Also on the calendar is US pharmaceutical giant AbbVie as well as toothpaste maker Colgate-Palmolive
  •  On the macroeconomic front, US personal income data for September will provide clarity on the spending power of US citizens. The figure declined by 2.7% in August, further than market expectations, but is forecast to inch 0.4% higher in September
  • Also in focus will be the Chicago PMI for October, an indicator of business activity in the rust belt area.  Forecasts are expecting the figure to show a reading of 56, down from 62.4 in September

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