A surge in Delta variant infections sparked a broad sell-off on Wall Street on Monday as investors feared renewed Covid-19 shutdowns and a protracted economic recovery.
All three major US stock indexes ended the session sharply lower, with the S&P and the Nasdaq suffering their largest one-day percentage drop since mid-May.
The blue-chip Dow had its worst day in nearly nine months.
The risk-off sentiment also sent US 10-year Treasury yields sliding, pulling rate sensitive banks stock prices with them. The S&P 500 Banks index dropped 3.3 percent.
"Much of it is related to the Delta (variant)," said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago. "There’s some concern too that maybe the economy is not going to open up as quickly as everyone thinks, and the big boom that everyone’s expecting is going to be more of a pop than a boom."
The highly contagious Covid-19 Delta variant, now the dominant strain across the globe, has caused a surge in new infections and deaths, nearly exclusively among unvaccinated people.
For an interactive graphic on worldwide vaccine deployment and availability, click here.
"Global availability of the vaccine has been an issue from day one." Nolte said. "That’s been out there for a long time. This is the latest iteration of that. We still have a long way to go."
Travel and leisure stocks plunged, with the S&P 1500 Airline index shedding 3.8 percent and the S&P 1500 Hotel and Restaurant index off 2.7 percent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.09 percent, to 33,962, the S&P 500 lost 1.59 percent, to 4,258 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.06 percent, to 14,275. (Reuters)