U.S. stocks drop amid coronavirus concerns

NEW YORK, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks fell on Thursday as the nation's soaring coronavirus infections continued to present a headwind.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average decreased 317.46 points, or 1.08 percent, to 29,080.17. The S&P 500 was down 35.65 points, or 1.00 percent, to 3,537.01. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 76.84 points, or 0.65 percent, to 11,709.59.

All the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors pulled back, with energy closing down 3.39 percent, leading the losses.

U.S.-listed Chinese companies traded mostly lower, with six of the top 10 stocks by weight in the S&P U.S. Listed China 50 index ending the day on a downbeat note.

The upward trajectory of coronavirus infections in the United States continued as the country on Wednesday set new records in key COVID-19 metrics including the daily case count and hospitalizations.

The United States has reported more than 10.5 million COVID-19 cases in total with the death toll exceeding 242,000 as of Thursday afternoon, showed a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Thursday warned that a record surge in COVID-19 cases across the country could hinder the recent economic recovery.

"We do see the economy continuing on a solid path of recovery, but the main risk we see to that is the further spread of disease here in the United States," Powell said during a virtual event held by the European Central Bank.

"With the virus now spreading, the next few months could be challenging," Powell said, adding the Fed and Congress may need to do more to strengthen the recovery.

On the data front, U.S. initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, came in at 709,000 in the week ending Nov. 7, following an upwardly revised 757,000 in the prior week, the Department of Labor reported on Thursday. Economists polled by Bloomberg had projected 731,000 in initial claims for last week.

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