Stocks end lower as COVID-19 cases continue to rise
Stocks were sharply lower amid disappointment over the lack of a stimulus deal in Washington and escalating worries over the surge in virus cases in the U.S. and Europe. The presidential election is a little over one week away, which may be causing some trepidation as well. While time is running short for an aid deal to be reached before the election, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Deputy Chief of Staff said she remains "optimistic." Meanwhile, if Biden wins, he is said to be ready to push for a $2T COVID-19 stimulus package immediately upon taking office.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the Chicago Fed national activity index slipped 0.84 ticks to 0.27 in September. New home sales slid 3.5% to a 959,000 pace in September, missing expectations. The Dallas Fed manufacturing index climbed 6.2 points to 19.8 in October, which was better than forecast.
Data from the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering shows there are now 43.2M confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, including 8.64M in the U.S., and 1.16M deaths due to the disease, including about 225,000 in the U.S.
Meanwhile, Fox Business' Charles Gasparino reported that aides to U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden say that if elected president, Biden will push for a $2T COVID-19 stimulus package immediately upon taking office along with tax increases and infrastructure.
TOP NEWS: In M&A news, Dunkin' Brands (DNKN), the parent company of Dunkin' and Baskin-Robbins, confirmed that it has held preliminary discussions to be acquired by Inspire Brands, which is a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes Arby's, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic Drive-In and others. The confirmation came after the New York Times' Lauren Hirsch reported that a deal being discussed would take Dunkin' Brands private at a price of $106.50 a share, or a value of around $9B. Following the news, shares of Dunkin' rose 16.1%.
Shares of SAP (SAP) trading in New York were 23.2% lower after the company missed Q3 revenue and operating profit and reduced both its fiscal 2020 outlook and mid-term targets. JPMorgan analyst Stacy Pollard downgraded SAP to Neutral from Overweight while Exane BNP Paribas analyst Stefan Slowinski downgraded SAP to Neutral from Outperform following the company's guidance cut.
Meanwhile, American Express (AXP) and Uber (UBER) announced an expanded partnership, under which U.S. Consumer Platinum, Gold and Green Card Members have access to a complimentary Eats Pass Membership for up to 12 months.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Mirati Therapeutics (MRTX), which rose 9.1% after the company reported preliminary results from its mutant KRAS selective inhibitor programs. Also higher was JOYY (YY), which gained 4.6% following media reports that Baidu (BIDU) intends to acquire the company's domestic business in China.
Among the noteworthy losers was Cenovus Energy (CVE), which declined 8.4% after it and Husky Energy agreed to combine to create a new integrated Canadian oil and natural gas company. Also lower was Hasbro (HAS), which fell 9.3% after reporting quarterly results.
INDEXES: The Dow fell 650.19, or 2.29%, to 27,685.38, the Nasdaq lost 189.34, or 1.64%, to 11,358.94, and the S&P 500 declined 64.42, or 1.86%, to 3,400.97.
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