Wall Street sinks again, with the Dow falling 700 points on lockdown concerns

Wall Street fell again on Wednesday, as Europe considered additional lockdowns and U.S. cities such as Chicago and Newark, New Jersey, announced a new round of restrictive measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by over 700 points to fall below 27,000 in Wednesday’s morning session. The S&P 500 sank by 2.6 percent and the Nasdaq composite index tumbled by more than 2.9 percent.

Covid-19 infections are spreading across the United States at the fastest rate since the start of the pandemic, according to the latest NBC News figures. The 71,000 new cases per day that the U.S. averaged over the past week was the most in any seven-day stretch since the crisis started.

Market participants are focused on the extent to which the uptick in coronavirus cases could stall any economic recovery. Officials in Illinois said Tuesday they would extend restrictions in Chicago to include the suspension of indoor dining and a size limit on gatherings.

Starting Tuesday, nonessential businesses in the city of Newark must close by 8 p.m., that city’s mayor announced this week. Beauty salons and barber shops will now be by appointment only, and gyms will be closed for 30 minutes in every hour for sanitization.

In Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in discussions to consider closing restaurants and bars. French President Emmanuel Macron is set to give a televised address on Wednesday night to announce additional measures to the curfews that were put in place last week. The moves would follow similar restrictions implemented over the past few weeks in Italy and Spain.

“I think there’s going to be a call for lockdowns the likes of which we’ve seen in Chicago,” Jim Cramer told CNBC on Wednesday. “The lockdowns without the stimulus equals what we’re seeing.”

Seven months into the pandemic, companies are still attempting to right-size their workforce. Boeing reported its fourth straight quarterly loss Wednesday morning and announced thousands more job cuts. The ailing aircraft manufacturer said it would be cutting a further 7 percent of its workforce, with a goal of reducing its total headcount by 30,000 to 130,000 by the end of next year.

“We have to make the adjustments that we’ve got to make,” Boeing CEO David Calhoun told CNBC in an interview Wednesday morning. “Those rates are appropriate to everything that I know. We’re hoping the economic recovery comes sooner rather than later.”

Investors are also parsing news that there will be no fresh round of fiscal stimulus before the election.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Tuesday ended any hopes of a Covid-19 relief bill before Election Day, blaming the White House for failing “miserably,” in a letter to House Democrats.

For his part, Trump acknowledged that there would be no deal until the election is over.

“After the election, we will get the best stimulus package you have ever seen,” Trump said Tuesday. “I think we are going to take back the House because of her.”

*story by NBC News