Financial markets took a hit Monday amid fears that the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus would delay reopening plans and put a damper on economic recovery.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average index closed down 2.1%, off 724.56 points to 33,963.29 — the biggest one-day drop for the Dow since last October. The S&P 500 also fell, declining 1.6% for the day, while the tech-focused Nasdaq slipped 1.06%.
Big media companies were pulled down in the selloff, led by Lionsgate (-4.75%) and Disney (-3.6%), the latter likely on worries that the Mouse House’s theme parks would be hurt by new restrictions put in place because of rising coronavirus cases. Other entertainment and telecom stocks also dropped, including AT&T (-1.9%), Discovery (-1.3%), Comcast (-1.6%) and ViacomCBS (-1%).
Stocks of major tech companies dropped, including Apple (-2.7%), Google parent company Alphabet (-2%), Facebook (-1.2%) and Amazon (-0.7%).
Netflix, meanwhile, was one of the day’s few gainers, closing up 0.37%. The streaming giant is scheduled to report Q2 2021 earnings after market close on Tuesday, July 20.
The broad market drop was led by falling oil prices, as U.S. crude futures dropped 7.5% Monday, which drove down energy and travel company stocks.
The spread of the so-called Delta variant — far more contagious than prior strains of COVID-19 — has been pushing up the number of infections and cases around the world. In the U.S., the average daily number of new COVID-19 cases over the past week was 32,278, up 145% compared with two weeks ago — and three times the rate of 30 days ago, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Earlier Monday, Dish Network (which closed -1%) announced a 10-year deal with AT&T to replace T-Mobile as its primary network provider for wireless service sold under Boost Mobile and other brands. Under the deal, Dish will pay AT&T at least $5 billion over the 10-year period.