Dow drops 200 points as new UK virus strain outweighs $900 billion stimulus deal

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  • US stocks fell sharply on Monday as a new COVID-19 strain identified in the UK weighed down investor sentiment.
  • The mutated virus strain is more contagious than the original one and has led to a string of new lockdowns and travel restrictions in the UK just ahead of the Christmas holiday.
  • A new $900 billion stimulus deal that includes $600 stimulus checks wasn’t enough to counter investor concerns around the mutated virus.
  • Watch major indexes update live here.

US stocks declined on Monday as investors grappled with a new COVID-19 strain identified in the UK that’s reportedly more contagious than the original one.

Renewed virus concerns outweighed the new $900 billion stimulus deal agreed upon by Congress that will include $600 stimulus checks and expanded unemployment benefits.

Much is still unknown about the newly discovered mutated virus, including whether vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna can protect against it.

Surging COVID-19 cases and concerns around the new variant of the virus led to a string of lockdowns and travel restrictions for the UK. France, Germany, Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands have barred flights from the UK, and Austria and Sweden are preparing to do the same.

Here’s where US indexes stood shortly after the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Monday:

  • S&P 500: 3,674.47, down 0.9%
  • Dow Jones industrial average: 29,979.74, down 0.7% (199 points)
  • Nasdaq composite: 12,668.43, down 0.7%

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Travel stocks plummeted on Monday as investors grappled with the renewed risk of a lengthened shutdown and restriction in travel. Airline stocks fell as much as 9%, while cruise line stocks dropped as much as 12%. 

Oil prices edged lower. West Texas Intermediate crude dropped as much as 6%, to $46.18 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, declined 5.9%, to $49.20 per barrel, at intraday lows.

Gold rose as much as 1.4%, to $1,906.82 per ounce.

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