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Updated 2:00 PM EDT, Wed, May 20, 2020

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All three Wall Street Indices Hurtled to Another Huge Selloff As the U.S. Hit 100,000 Cases

Wall Street
(Photo : Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay )

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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All three Wall Street indices hurtled to another huge selloff Friday as news the U.S. hit 100,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases -- the only country in the world to do so -- doused enthusiasm over President Donald Trump signing the $2 trillion coronavirus economic stimulus bill on the same day.

The selloff ended a three-day Wall Street winning streak. The 30-stock Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 915.39 points, or 4.1%, to 21,636.78. The benchmark S&P 500 slid 3.4% to 2,541.47 while the tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite ended trading 3.7% lower at 7,502.38.

The Boeing Company plummeted 10.3% to $162 to lead the Dow lower. Chevron Corporation lost 10% to $68.78 while the Walt Disney Company lost 8.5% to $96.40. Boeing fell after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the world's largest airplane maker won't ask for a U.S. government bailout.

The energy sector plunged 6.9% and tech fell 4.6% to again become the worst-performing sectors in the S&P 500. Energy took off a huge hit from a 4.8% drop in crude prices. As of Thursday's New York settle, WTI was 66% lower compared to its most recent 52-week high of $66.60 per barrel in April 2019.

Despite the Friday selloff, all three indices could look back with satisfaction at a week of strong gains. The Dow jumped 12.8% week-to-date, its largestone-week gain since 1938. The S&P 500 rose 10.3% this week for its best weekly performance since March 2009. The NASDAQ jumped 9.1% to post its biggest weekly gain in 11 years.

"We believe medium-term risks are skewed to the downside after this rally," said Maneesh Deshpande, Barclays' chief U.S. equity strategist. "Two other uncertainties facing investors (the length of the economic quarantine required to contain the virus and the ultimate economic damage) remain unresolved."

European stock indices also closed lower. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index dropped 3.3%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 fell 5.3% after prime minister Boris Johnson revealed he had tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus. Germany's DAX lost 3.7% while the French CAC fell 4.2%.

On the other hand, Asian equities rose on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 closed up 3.9%. China's Shanghai Composite inched upwards 0.3% after the central government said it limit the entry of foreigners into China.

There was also some profit-taking in play. Analysts said investors were again taking profit ahead of the weekend, a prudent step given the pandemic in the U.S. is expected to worsen over the next two to three weeks.

"We may have had a good run this week but the weekend can feel like a long time at moments like this and the numbers we're getting from the U.S., which now has more cases than China or Italy, are getting uglier by the day," said Craig Erlam, an analyst for foreign exchange firm OANDA Corporation. "I fear a few more shocks lie ahead as we get closer to peak coronavirus in countries like the U.S., U.K., and more."

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