Resurgent pandemic worries knocked stocks lower from Wall Street to Tokyo on Monday, fueled by fears that faster-spreading variants of the virus may upend the economy's strong recovery. The S&P 500 lost 1.6% Monday and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up 725 points, or 2.1%. In another sign of worry, the yield on the 10-year Treasury touched its lowest level in five months as investors scrambled for safer places to put their money. Airlines and stocks of other companies that would get hurt the most by COVID-19 restrictions took some of the heaviest losses, similar to the early days of the pandemic in February and March 2020, the AP reports. United Airlines lost 6.2%, mall owner Simon Property Group dropped 6%, and cruise operator Carnival fell 5.6%.
The drop also circled the world, with several European markets sinking roughly 2.5% and Asian indexes down a bit less. The price of benchmark US crude, meanwhile, sank more than 7% after OPEC and allied nations agreed on Sunday to eventually allow for higher oil production this year. Increased worries about the virus may seem strange to people in parts of the world where masks are coming off thanks to COVID-19 vaccinations. But the World Health Organization says cases and deaths are climbing globally after a period of decline, spurred by the highly contagious delta variant. Analysts say Monday's drop might be an overreaction, but with the market at record highs with almost no pullback, it becomes "extremely vulnerable to any sort of bad news."
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