Stocks are sinking as the coronavirus rises, with airlines and cruise lines hit by fears of a resurgence and new restrictions on how people travel, shop and live in U.S. cities and in Europe, where France and Germany announced sweeping closures Wednesday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 943.24 points, or 3.4%. Shares of United Airlines lost 4.6% and Royal Caribbean and Carnival cruise lines dropped 7.4% and 10.6%, respectively.
Wall Street is spooked as Chicago bans indoor dining, average daily case-counts hit record highs across the U.S. and hospitals report dwindling capacity. At the same time, Congress’ failure to pass a stimulus package before Election Day is dampening the market outlook.
The drop also reflected trends in Europe, where French President Emmanuel Macron announced a nationwide lockdown. He told people to stay home except for essential work or medical care, although schools will remain open.
“France will never let hundreds of thousands of its fellow citizens die, these are not our values,” Mr. Macron tweeted.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday announced a “lockdown light” that would allow schools to remain open but close bars and restaurants and ban large gatherings for a month.
In the U.S., the mayor of New Jersey’s largest city — Newark — imposed a curfew that closes indoor dining and most shops at 8 p.m., hoping to avoid a second wave of the virus after the tri-state area was slammed last spring.
Dozens of states are reporting an increase in hospitalizations for the virus.
“We are at another critical point in the pandemic response,” Adm. Brett Giroir, an assistant health secretary and coronavirus testing czar, said Wednesday on NBC’s “Today” show.
He also said the rise in coronavirus cases is “not just a function of testing,” diverting from Mr. Trump’s campaign rhetoric.
“Yes, we’re getting more cases identified, but the cases are actually going up. And we know that, too, because hospitalizations are going up,” Adm. Giroir said.
President Trump says he’ll get a bill passed after the election but the upheaval is complicating his closing message, as insists the pandemic is rounding the turn.