(RTTNews) - Following the mixed performance seen in the previous session, stocks moved sharply lower during trading on Wednesday. With the steep drop on the day, the Dow ended the session at its lowest closing level in nearly three months.
The major averages saw further downside going into the close, ending the session just off their lows of the day. The Dow tumbled 943.24 points or 3.4 percent to 26,519.95, the Nasdaq plunged 426.48 points or 3.7 percent to 11,004.87 and the S&P 500 plummeted 119.65 points or 3.5 percent to 3,271.03.
The sell-off on Wall Street came amid continued concerns about a recent spike in coronavirus cases across the U.S.
The U.S. has averaged more than 70,000 new coronavirus cases a day over the past week, with 29 states setting new records this month for the most new daily cases since the pandemic began in February.
More than 8.78 million cases have been reported nationwide and at least 226,000 people have died of COVID-19, according to data from John Hopkins University.
According to JHU, the average number of daily new cases this past week is up 21 percent compared to the previous week.
The jump in new infections has also been accompanied by an increase in hospitalizations and deaths, leading to worries about new lockdowns.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has continued to downplay the pandemic in recent days, accusing the media of focusing too much on the disease ahead of next week's elections.
"Covid, Covid, Covid is the unified chant of the Fake News Lamestream Media. They will talk about nothing else until November 4th., when the Election will be (hopefully!) over," Trump tweeted. "Then the talk will be how low the death rate is, plenty of hospital rooms, & many tests of young people."
Lingering uncertainty about a new stimulus bill also weighed on Wall Street, with some analysts suggesting a victory by Joe Biden could make Republicans less likely to approve a new relief package until next year.
Gold stocks turned in some of the market's worst performances on the day, dragging the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index down by 7.1 percent to its lowest closing level in over three months.
The sell-off by gold stocks came amid a steep drop by the price of the precious metal, as gold for December delivery plummeted $32.70 to $1,879.20 an ounce.
Substantial weakness was also visible among airline stocks, resulting in a 6.3 percent nosedive by the NYSE Arca Airline Index.
Energy stocks also saw significant weakness on the day as the price of crude oil for December delivery plunged $2.18 to $37.39 a barrel.
Software, transportation and steel stocks also showed notable moves to the downside amid broad based weakness on Wall Street.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Wednesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index dipped by 0.3 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index rose by 0.5 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved sharply lower on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index has tumbled by 2.6 percent, the French CAC 40 Index plunged by 3.4 percent and the German DAX Index plummeted by 4.2 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries pulled back near the unchanged line after seeing early strength. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, inched up by less than a basis point to 0.781 percent after hitting a low of 0.746 percent.
News on the coronavirus front is likely to remain the spotlight on Thursday, while the latest batch of earnings news may also drive trading.
Trading on Thursday may also be impacted by reaction to reports on initial jobless claims and pending home sales.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.