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Stocks - Dow Rocked by Late Selling as U.S. Infections Top 200K

By Yasin Ebrahim – The Dow plunged as a wave of late selling hit Wall Street Wednesday as investors pulled their bullish bets on stocks on rising fears the economic hit from the Covid-19 pandemic could be worse than feared, with infections in the U.S. topping 200,000.

The Dow fell 4.4%, or 974 points, but was down more than a 1,000 points at the lows of the day. The S&P 500 fell 4.4% and the Nasdaq Composite fell 4.4%.

President Donald Trump's grim warning that two weeks of pain lie ahead of the U.S.,was made all the more chilling as infections in the U.S. continued to mount, forcing several states, including Florida, Nevada and Pennsylvania, to issue "stay at home" orders for at least 30 days.

Coronavirus infections in the U.S. topped 200,000 Wednesday, with about 4,700 dead so far.

With more states going into lockdown, fears of a deeper and darker recession continue to rise. Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) warned of further economic pain in the second quarter, but added that a quick recovery would ensue after the virus is contained.

In China, meanwhile, hopes that the country could be on the road to recovery suffered a setback following a fresh outbreak and growing doubts over the veracity of Beijing's official coronavirus infection and death count.

A county in central China’s Henan province went into lockdown following several infections in the area, Reuters reported.

Real estate, utilities, which traditionally serve as defensive corners, led the bruising sell on Wall Street.

Energy was also under pressure as oil prices settled lower on growing fears about a glut in supply as U.S. inventories continue to build. But sentiment on oil was helped by reports that Trump is reportedly set to meet with oil company CEOs to find a way to bring some much-needed stability to the market.

Tech was also shunned, paced by a steep decline in chip stocks as investors seemingly scaled back some of their late-quarter bullish bets on the sector. Nvidia was among the biggest losers, falling 7%, dragging the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index 5.5% lower.

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