US stocks turn lower, Dow Jones drops over 340 points
US stock indices fell on Wednesday, erasing early gains, as anxiety continued over the escalating coronavirus crisis.
Wall Street was lifted earlier after the American company Pfizer and the German firm BioNTech announced on Wednesday that the recent data from the final phase of the clinical trials on their Covid-19 vaccine showed it was 95% effective.
However, analysts believe that there is still a long way to go before the vaccine reaches everyone and eliminates the pandemic, especially as the number of infections keeps rising.
The US building permits index reached 1.55 million in October, lower than estimates of 1.57 million, while the housing starts index rose to 1.53 million units in October, beating forecasts of 1.45 million.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell yesterday renewed his calls to the US Congress to pass an additional fiscal stimulus bill to support the economy.
To the oil market, WTI crude December futures rose 0.9% or 39 cents, and closed at $41.82 a barrel, after hitting a day high of $42.4 and a low of $41.08.
Brent January futures rose 1.3% or 58 cents, and closed at $44.33 a barrel, after hitting a high of $44.8 and a low of $43.4.
As for stocks, Dow Jones fell 1.2% or 345 points, and closed at 29,438, after hitting a day high of 29,930, and a low of 29,432.
Nasdaq fell 0.8% or 97 points to 11,801, with a high of 11,942 and a low of 11,799.
S&P 500 fell 1.2% or 41 points to 3,567, after hitting a high of 3,619 and a low of 3,567.
The British Pound held against the US dollar on Tuesday, amid focus on the Brexit talks. A British official said that the door is still open to a trade deal with the European Union. While several EU officials also expressed optimism about a trade deal with London, and called for more negotiations. The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday that the trade talks with the EU have ended and without any change in the European position, weeks ahead of the talks deadline. Johnson ordered his cabinet members to prepare for a no-deal Brexit scenario, but sources told Bloomberg that Johnson might face pressure from the parliament to reconsider the controversial internal market law, which may rejuvenate the talks with Brussels. GBP/USD held at 1.2941 as of 21:22 GMT, the pair hit an intraday high of 1.2979 and a low of 1.2911.
At 12:30 GMT, the US economy released the US durable goods orders index reading, which rose 1.9% in September, higher than forecasts and August's reading of 0.5%. The core reading of the durable goods orders index (excluding energy and food prices) rose 0.8%, also higher than forecasts of 0.3%, and higher than August's reading of 0.6%.
Euro tilted higher in Asian trade off July 24 lows against dollar ahead of a batch of euro zone and US data later today. As of 06:36 GMT, EUR/USD rose 0.14% to 1.1873, with a session-high at 1.1878. Investors await manufacturing and services data for France, Germany, and the whole euro zone in a few minutes. From the US, the manufacturing PMI is expected down to 52.5 from 53.4, while the services PMI is estimated down to 55.8 from 56.9 in October.