Monday proved to be another turbulent day for Wall Street, with stocks reversing an early gain that had briefly lifted the S&P 500 back into positive territory for the year.
The index was nearly 1 percent lower by the end of the day, after earlier having climbed more than 1.5 percent. The unsteady trading came as the number of coronavirus cases continued to rise, and investors also had the coming earnings season to consider.
Many companies, rocked by uncertainties caused by the spread of the coronavirus, have stopped giving guidance on profit projections through the year, so traders will be looking especially closely at the quarterly numbers as they are reported.
On Monday, Pepsico reported better than expected results, in part because of a jump in sales of snack foods. On Tuesday, JPMorgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo will all report their results, and a range of other companies from Netflix to Delta Air Lines will also provide updates this week.
Stocks have climbed recently despite the unrelenting spread of the coronavirus in many parts of the world, but the market has also proven itself susceptible to a sudden downdraft if sentiment shifts and investors choose to focus on the risks to the economy or profits — something that could happen if corporate results come in far weaker than expected.
Adding to the market’s jitters on Monday was the news that Gov. Gavin Newsom of California announced one of the most sweeping rollbacks of any state’s reopening plans, saying that he would move to close indoor operations statewide for restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, zoos and card rooms, and that bars would be force to close all operations.
Florida on Sunday reported more than 15,000 new cases, the highest single-day total by any state since the start of the pandemic.
The economic crisis is prompting a growing coalition in the United States — including Democrats and Republicans, labor and business — to push for a new training effort to upgrade the skills of American workers, creating what one proponent called “a Marshall Plan for ourselves.”