At closing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average index fell by 943.24 points, marking its third day of losses for the week thus far. The S&P 500 sank by 119.65 points, and the Nasdaq Composite dove into red territory with a 426.48-point decline.
Extending their losses, companies such as Delta Air Lines and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. each saw their stocks devalued by nearly 5% as the travel and leisure sector has endured an uphill battle at recovering from pandemic-rooted setbacks.
Crude oil prices fared no better, falling nearly 6% and extending their three-week lows.
Unlike many of the Asian indices, the European markets experienced similar steep declines during the day’s trading, with sell-offs largely driven by indications that both Germany and France would be imposing new lockdown restrictions in an effort to curb recent COVID-19 spikes.
German officials announced later Wednesday that a partial lockdown would be imposed to combat the respiratory illness. French President Emmanuel Macron followed by ordering a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.
According to Worldometer, Germany has reported more than 477,000 COVID-19 cases, whereas France has documented upwards of 1.1 million.
Echoing the pandemic’s early days, reports of new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have also seen a massive surge in the US. Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University indicates that the US has documented an average of over 70,000 daily coronavirus cases over the last week, with related hospitalization rates undergoing an uptick.
The university’s latest report notes the US has a 6.19% test positivity ratio, and that new COVID-19 cases are increasing in Texas, Wisconsin, California, Florida and Illinois. In fact, Illinois’ governor recently ordered that bars and indoor dining be closed in several regions of the state until further notice.
With cases on the rise and no economic stimulus in sight, the situation will likely lead to more lockdowns across the US, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Wednesday on the outlet’s morning business show “Squawk Box.”
“It’s very hard to buy a lot of stocks when you see these numbers,” Cramer said, before noting that “it’s a shame too, because with stimulus, we’d be very tempted to own some of these stocks.”
“The lockdowns without the stimulus equals what we’re seeing, and I think it’s a shame because had there been stimulus, we would then be focusing on earnings, and the earnings are actually pretty darn good,” he added.
At present, the US is leading the world with over 8.8 million recorded cases of the deadly virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.