Dow falls 259 points as Delta variant sparks recovery concerns

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July 8 (UPI) — The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 260 points on Thursday amid renewed concerns about economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The blue-chip index dropped 259.86 points, or 0.75% at the end of trading, while the broad S&P 500 slid 0.86% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.72% after both indexes set new records on Wednesday.

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“The market has been in one of those ‘Goldilocks’ stretches when economic growth was accelerating while inflation and interest rates remained low. Increased COVID cases, particularly Delta variants have caused concerns that economic acceleration will slow,” Timothy Lesko of Granite Investment Advisors said, according to CNBC. “A few weeks ago the porridge was too hot, now it seems it is too cold. With markets at all time highs and some valuations stretched there is little room for economic slowdown in this market.”

Companies that would benefit from a speedy economic recovery from the pandemic suffered Thursday as Carnival fell 1.52% and Royal Caribbean dipped 1.28%, while Delta Air Lines stock fell 1.08%.

Disney slipped 0.012% Thursday but remained below its 50-day line in the past three months and about 14% down from an early March peak.

Tech stocks also declined Thursday after pushing markets to new heights the day prior. Facebook stock fell 1.38%, while Google‘s parent company, Alphabet, dropped 1.13%, Apple declined 0.92% and Microsoft slid 0.9%.

Amazon stock reversed early losses and closed the day up 0.94%.

Thursday’s losses came as Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga placed Tokyo under a new state of emergency and Olympic organizers said all fans will be banned from the delayed Summer Games.

Markets also reacted to concerns of the Delta variant of the virus. U.S. President Joe Biden earlier this week renewed his vaccination push after failing to meet his goal of 70% of all adults to have at least one dose by Independence Day.

Investors reacted to a Labor Department report stating 373,000 workers filed initial claims last week, an increase of 2,000 claims over the previous week, exceeding economists’ predictions of 350,000 claims.