19:26 GMT05 August 2020
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    US stocks fell into red territory Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average index plummeting more than 350 points as skyrocketing COVID-19 cases prompted concerns over the US’ economic recovery.

    At closing bell, the Dow Jones fell by 361.19 points, as the S&P 500 saw a 17.89-point loss. However, the tech-heavy NASDAQ managed to stay in the green with a gain of 55.25 points. 

    Shares that suffered blows during the day’s trading included those of the travel industry’s Royal Caribbean Cruises and American Airlines Group, as well as stocks tied to retail stores Walgreens and Bed Bath & Beyond, among other hard-hit companies.

    US markets, however, hit their worst lows of the day after the Florida Department of Health reported 8,935 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of cases confirmed in the Sunshine State to 232,718. 

    According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, the rate of positive tests for the whole of Florida was a whopping 19.5% for the past seven days. 

    Analysts anticipate that COVID-19 figures in the state will only continue to spike as theme parks, such as Universal Studios and Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, are set to reopen.

    At present, over 3 million novel coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the US, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. More than 130,000 COVID-19-related deaths have been reported in the US. 

    Indices only appeared to recover somewhat after Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, noted in a Thursday video statement that a COVID-19 vaccine could be accessible by 2021. He also stated that Moderna’s vaccine candidate would likely advance into phase three clinical trials by the end of the month.

    New Report Sees Jobless Claims Remain Elevated

    With new COVID-19 cases emerging across the Land of the Free, investors are growing increasingly concerned that the effects of the pandemic will further delay an economic recovery.

    A Thursday report from the US Department of Labor revealed that 1.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the week ending July 4, prompted by new COVID-19 cases forcing some states to reverse course on reopening plans.

    Although the report noted a drop of 99,000 claims from the week prior, the new figures also marked the 15th consecutive week in which initial claims totaled over 1 million.

    Liz Ann Sonders, the chief investment strategist at financial company Charles Schwab, told CNBC that “these are definitely good numbers, but this is going to be a long and bumpy road.”

    “We still have a long road ahead of us,” she added.

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    New York Stock Exchange, coronavirus, COVID-19, Dow Jones Industrials Average Index, Dow Jones Index, US Stocks, Wall Street
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