NEW YORK: Stocks on Wall Street fell around 2% on Monday, as a rise in worldwide coronavirus cases and deaths drove investors away from risky assets, crushing bond yields and share prices.
Oil prices plunged around 6%, driven down both by worries about future demand and by an OPEC+ agreement to increase supply.
New COVID-19 cases rose in England and Asia, with U.S. infections soaring 70% last week, dampening optimism on the economic recovery. The 10-year yield fell 9.2 basis points to 1.207%, a low last seen in February, while the S&P 500 fell for a third straight session.
"Fears over peak economic data and a resurgence in COVID cases has the market on edge today," said Ryan Detrick, Chief Market Strategist for LPL Financial, in an emailed statement. "Of course, don't forget that the S&P 500 hasn't had a 5% correction since October, so you could say we are more than due for some turbulence."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 2.5% mid-afternoon on Monday, with the S&P 500 falling just shy of 2%. The Nasdaq Composite fell 1.4%.
MSCI's all-country world index, a gauge of global shares, was down nearly 2%.
Investors are also worried about the specter of elevated inflation, which the market has long feared.
U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday acknowledged that prices for some items such as vehicles have increased but said that his administration would remain vigiliant over inflation and havoc it could wreak on the economy.
"Fear of stagflation will be a major concern for investors if a resurgence in COVID infections causes economies to slow while consumer prices continue an upward trajectory," said Peter Essele, head of investment management for Commonwealth Financial Network, in an e-mailed statement.
U.S. deaths from the coronavirus, spurred by the dominant Delta variant, are up 26%, with outbreaks occurring in parts of the country with low vaccination rates. About one in five new cases are in Florida, and the vast majority of people hospitalized for COVID are unvaccinated.