Evie Liu•Last Updated June 19, 2020, 5:25 PM
U.S. stocks shed morning gains to mostly end in the red. Investors are increasingly worried about the continuous wave of new coronavirus cases, which could potentially lead to the reimposition of economically disruptive stay-at-home orders and other restrictions.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 208.64 points, or 0.80%, to close at 25871.46. The S&P 500 lost 17.60 points, or 0.56%, to finish at 3097.74, while the Nasdaq Composite managed to finish with a slight gain of 3.07 points, or 0.03%, to 9946.12.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with China’s top foreign policy official in Hawaii on Thursday. He tweeted that the official, Yang Jiechi, had promised to step up efforts to meet the conditions of a Phase 1 trade deal. Stocks rose early Friday on renewed hopes for more Chinese purchases of American farm products.
Apple (ticker: AAPL) said it would close some stores in states including Arizona, Florida, and the Carolinas due to spikes of new coronavirus cases. Major cruise lines have also agreed to voluntarily extend a suspension of operations out of U.S. ports until Sept. 15, the Cruise Lines International Association announced Friday.
Investors worry that other businesses may follow in the same footsteps, and consumers might feel hesitant again to go out and spend money. That could put a dent in the still-early economic recovery without any official government lockdowns.
Financial stocks are also weighed down by the potential outlook for less bank dividends. Federal Reserve Vice Chair Randal Quarles signaled today that regulators could recommend further reductions in banks’ shareholder payouts, based on a “sensitivity analysis” of U.S. economy’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Many U.S. banks have already suspended buyback plans through the end of the second quarter. The Fed will publish the results of U.S. banks’ stress tests next Thursday.
Despite the broadly falling stock market, oil was rallying again on Friday, rising for the fourth time in the past five trading days. The West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 2.34% to settle at $39.75 per barrel, just slightly below the key threshold of $40. For the past week, the commodity has rallied nearly 10%, after falling 8.4% the previous week.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, and allies have maintained their production cuts through at least July, while global demand is gradually rising as the economy recovers. There are still hundreds of millions of barrels of oil sitting in storage around the world, which could continue to weigh on prices, but the stage is set for oil demand to outpace supply in the second half of the year.
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