Dow off Lows as U.S. Reaches Covid-19 Milestone Ahead of Stimulus Rollout By

© Reuters.

By Yasin Ebrahim – The Dow moved off lows on Friday, as investors look ahead to Congress rubber-stamping its $2 trillion stimulus package to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, with infections in the U.S. overtaking that of Italy and China.

The fell 2.81%, or 633 points, the slumped 2.54% and the fell 2.66%.

The U.S. has seen coronavirus cases top 90,000, above China’s 81,000 and Italy’s nearly 87,000. President Donald Trump, however, has downplayed the milestone in the U.S., and suggested the number of infections from Beijing was not entirely accurate.

“You don’t know what the numbers are in China,” Trump told reporters on Thursday, as he attributed the jump infection in the U.S to a “tremendous” ramp-up in testing.

With the rapid spreading of the virus nationwide, investors are anxiously waiting for Congress to roll out its $2 trillion stimulus package, with the House expected to vote on the deal later today.

The bill could include measures to support the economy such as tax breaks, checks and bailouts for big businesses hurt by the outbreak.

Against the backdrop of rising infections worldwide, health authorities have been stepping up efforts to produce a vaccine.

The World Health Organization officials said Friday that the first patients had been enrolled in a drug trial in Norway and Spain to test coronavirus treatments.

The selloff on Wall Street was paced by a fall in energy and industrial stocks, which had led the previous three-day rally.

Energy stocks slumped 5%, paced by a decline in oil prices amid fears the pandemic will continue to hurt oil demand at time when Saudi Arabia and Russia are engaged in a price war.

Boeing (NYSE:) fell 7%, pushing industrials 4% lower as the aircraft maker will reportedly not take up the lifeline on offer from the government’s stimulus bill if it comes with strings attached.

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