US stocks tumbled Monday as investors closed out a record-setting month by locking in some profits.
The Dow Jones industrial average slid as much as 446.73 points, or about 1.5 percent, to 29,463.64 but was still on pace for its biggest monthly gain since 1987 after crossing the 30,000 mark last week. The blue-chip index had surged 2,962 points in November, or some 11 percent, even at Monday’s intraday low, helped by strides toward a coronavirus vaccine and Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.
The S&P 500 was on track to end the month with a more than 11 percent gain — its largest for any November ever — despite dropping as much as 1.2 percent Monday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq also slid as much as 1.5 percent after touching a new intraday record of 12,244.65 in early trading.
“We’ve had such a run here in short order and I just think people are saying, ‘OK, dump a little bit of my big winners and if it does pull back here at some point, I’ll probably go in after it again,’” Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group, told The Post.
Wall Street’s major indexes ironically soared to record highs in November alongside the number of Americans whom the coronavirus has infected and forced into hospitals. More than 4 million new cases have been reported nationwide over the past month, according to the COVID Tracking Project, leading some parts of the country to bring back lockdown measures like those that gutted the economy this spring.
But investors have been betting that drugmakers will soon deliver at least one safe and effective vaccine to rein in the virus. Moderna and Pfizer are both asking the Food and Drug Administration to clear their shots for emergency use, which could allow the first Americans to be inoculated by Christmas.
Investors also expect the incoming Biden administration to deliver another stimulus package amid concerns about the coronavirus surge slowing down the nation’s recovery, according to market analysts. The feds’ jobs report for November could provide a signal of the need for more economic relief when it’s released on Friday.
“Wall Street will remain fixated on this week’s labor figures which could be the tipping point to make Congress deliver much-needed relief as many unemployment benefits and loan moratoriums expire at year-end,” said Ed Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.
With Post wires