US stocks mostly fall on worries over economy, Covid-19

US stocks mostly fall on worries over economy, Covid-19

Shares of Dow members Pfizer, Merck, Caterpilllar and 3M all fell after earnings reports

Wall Street, New York. Credit: Reuters Photo

Wall Street stocks finished mostly lower Tuesday amid worries over the economy and Covid-19 as well as lackluster consumer data and mixed earnings.

After falling hard on Monday on fears of the coronavirus and the lack of new fiscal stimulus from Congress, markets had a choppier session on Tuesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.8 per cent to 27,463.19.

The broad-based S&P 500 declined 0.3 percent to 3,390.68, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.6 percent to 11,431.35.

Nasdaq's rise reflects the tech sector's better positioning "if growth wavers due to Covid," said Quincy Krosby, Prudential Financial's chief market strategist.

The United States has been registering more than 60,000 new coronavirus cases a day in recent days, and cases are also on the upswing in France and throughout Europe where governments are enacting new restrictions.

President Donald Trump said Congress will approve a pandemic rescue package for the US economy after the November 3 election, seeming to concede defeat on efforts to reach a deal before voters decide whether to give him a second term.

Meanwhile, the Conference Board reported that US consumer confidence in October lagged analyst expectations.

"Consumers' assessment of current conditions improved while expectations declined, driven primarily by a softening in the short-term outlook for jobs," The Conference Board's Senior Director of Economic Indicators Lynn Franco said.

Among individual companies, shares of Xilinx jumped 8.6 per cent after it reached a deal to be acquired by rival chipmaker AMD for $35 billion. AMD shed 4.1 per cent.

Travel-oriented stocks dropped in a sign of renewed anxiety about Covid-19. American Airlines lost 4.8 per cent, Booking Holdings shed 3.0 per cent and Marriott International fell 2.7 per cent.