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Stock Market News for Jan 5, 2021

U.S. markets closed sharply lower on Monday, the first trading day of the year, on fears of the rising cases of coronavirus, slow rollout of vaccines and upcoming Georgia runoff elections. All the three indexes ended in negative territory, with the Dow and S&P 500 registering their sharpest daily drop in more than 10 weeks.

How Did The Benchmarks Perform?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) dropped 1.3% or 382.59 points to finish at 30,223.89, recording its worst daily percentage drop since Oct 28. It was also Dow’s first negative start to a year since 2016. However, the blue-chip index touched an intraday high of 30,674.28.

The S&P 500 lost 1.5% or 55.42 points to end the day at 3,700.65 after hitting an intraday high of 3,769.99. The S&P 500 also recorded its worst daily percentage decline since Oct 28.
Almost all 11 sectors of the benchmark index closed in negative territory with utilities, real estate and industrials emerging as the biggest losers.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 1.5% or 189.84 points to close at 12,698.45 points. The index recorded its worst daily performance since Dec 9. Shares of Facebook, Inc. FB declined 1.5%. Facebook has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) was up 18.4% to 26.93, touching a two-week high. A total of 14.15 billion shares were traded on Monday, higher than the last 20-session average of 10.94 billion. Decliners outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by a 2.14-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 1.43-to-1 ratio favored declining issues.

Coronavirus Fears Escalate

After ending the year on a high, investors were back to trading with a low morale on Monday, the first trading day of the year. Monday’s decline was triggered by fears of growing number of coronavirus cases and its eventual impact on the global economy.

Fears escalated further leading to a massive selloff after the UK imposed a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the new COVID-19 mutant discovered in the country a couple of weeks back. In the United States too hospitalizations and death form the deadly virus has been on the rise. Moreover, slow rate of vaccination further dented investors’ spirit.

Georgia Runoff Elections Unsettle Markets

Investors have also been closely following the Senate election in battleground state of Georgia on Tuesday, which will determine control over the chamber. The runoff elections also have the potential to infuse volatility into the markets if the results create political disturbance in Washington over the recent fiscal spending measures.

Economic Data

The Commerce Department said that construction spending increased 0.9% to $1.459 trillion in November, driven by robust housing market and low mortgage rates. This is also the highest level since the government started tracking it in 2002.

Also, the final HIS Markit manufacturing survey for December was revised to a reading of 57.1. The initial reading was 56.5.

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