US stocks tumble toward worst day in a month amid virus woes

Stocks plunge in New York

Stocks plunge in New York

Semiconductor designer Advanced Micro Devices Inc fell about 3%, as it agreed to buy Xilinx Inc in a US$35 billion all-stock deal that will intensify its battle with Intel Corp in the data centre chip market.

At 10:53 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 78.40 points, or 0.28% to 27,606.98, the S&P 500 lost 1.09 points, or 0.03% to 3,399.88 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 63.73 points, or 0.56% to 11,422.67. The one positive performer was the Nasdaq, which rose 0.09% to 11,369.

"Ultimately, until the underlying health care issue truly begins to resolve, we should expect a cloud to continue hang over the global economic outlook and the markets to continue their choppy path, " said Nicole Tanenbaum, partner and chief investment strategist, at Chequers Financial Management.

A surge in new Covid-19 cases was still very much so at the forefront of investors' minds as stocks tried to bounce back from the previous session's heavy losses that came after the U.S. reported a record average of 68,767 cases per day over the last week. The worry is that could lead to the return of lockdowns in hopes of slowing the pandemic's spread, which could further choke off the improvements the economy showed during the summer.

Reports on the economy released Thursday were mixed.

The Conference Board consumer confidence reading for October is expected to nudge up to 102 from 101.8 in September.

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Investors have been clamoring for Congress to deliver another round of stimulus for the economy, but they're increasingly acknowledging it won't happen anytime soon.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday said the Trump administration was reviewing the latest proposal for COVID-19 relief over the weekend and that she expected a response on Monday. Any compromise reached between House Democrats and the White House would also likely face stiff resistance from Republicans in control of the Senate. After approving the latest Supreme Court justice, the Senate is unlikely to return to session until November 9.

This upcoming week is the busiest of this quarter's earnings season, with more than a third of the companies in the S&P 500 index scheduled to report. Both contracts fell nearly 2.5% last week.

In another sign of caution, Treasury yields pulled back after touching their highest level since June last week and were steady at 0.80% on Tuesday.

In European stock markets, France's CAC 40 fell 1.2%, and Germany's DAX lost 0.4%.

In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 declined 0.1% to finish at 23,494.34, while South Korea's Kospi lost 0.7% to 2,343.91. Stocks in Shanghai inched up 0.1%.

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