Roundup: U.S. stocks book worst week since October amid market mania, coronavirus concerns

  • World
  • Sunday, 31 Jan 2021

NEW YORK, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks suffered losses in the volatile week amid concerns over retail trading frenzy and a continued spike in COVID-19 infections.

For the week ending Friday, both the Dow and the S&P 500 lost 3.3 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite declined 3.5 percent, posting their worst week since October.

The S&P U.S. Listed China 50 index, which is designed to track the performance of the 50 largest Chinese companies listed on U.S. exchanges by total market cap, notched a weekly drop of 5 percent.

Mania around GameStop unnerved the market this week that saw the Dow tumble 620.74 points to 29,982.62 on Friday, marking the first time the 30-stock gauge had closed below the 30,000 mark since Dec. 14.

GameStop shares spiked 400 percent for the week. The stock soared nearly 68 percent on Friday, after slumping 44 percent in the previous session. Shares of the video game chain plunged on Thursday after Robinhood and other trading platforms took steps to curb wild trading swings in shorted stocks.

The speculative frenzy has raised concerns about a bubble and financial stability, experts noted.

Investors also eyed vaccine news.

Johnson & Johnson on Friday said its COVID-19 vaccine candidate was 66 percent effective overall in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19. The stock slipped more than 3 percent after the announcement.

Meanwhile, a slew of newly-released U.S. economic data and comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve added evidence that the surging pandemic is threatening the economic recovery.

U.S. personal consumption expenditures decreased 0.2 percent in December, after falling 0.7 percent in the prior month, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported on Friday.

The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020 amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, slower than 33.4 percent in the previous quarter, the U.S. Commerce Department reported on Thursday. The first figure was also below the 4.3-percent estimate from economists surveyed by Dow Jones.

Meanwhile, U.S. initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, fell to 847,000 in the week ending Jan. 23, following an upwardly revised level of 914,000 in the prior week, the Department of Labor said on Thursday. The reading was below the 875,000 estimate from economists surveyed by Dow Jones, but still well above the pre-pandemic level.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve underscored economic risks in a statement after concluding its first policy meeting in 2021.

"The pace of the recovery in economic activity and employment has moderated in recent months, with weakness concentrated in the sectors most adversely affected by the pandemic," the Fed said.

The United States has registered more than 26 million confirmed COVID-19 cases with related deaths exceeding 438,000 as of Saturday afternoon, showed a tally by Johns Hopkins University, both figures the highest in the world.

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