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Dow Jones, S&P 500 fall on Fears Over Surging Virus Numbers

The S&P 500 and Dow dropped on Thursday as investors worried about another round of business shutdowns to contain a surge in coronavirus cases and they began to shift their focus to earnings.

The United States saw more than 60,000 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, setting a single-day global record while Florida and Texas reported a record one-day increase in deaths.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc tumbled 8.2% after it reported a quarterly loss compared with a profit a year earlier, hurt by non-cash impairment charges of $2 billion as COVID-19 disrupted business at its Boots UK division.

Investors also are beginning to turn their focus to second-quarter earnings. S&P 500 companies are expected to post the biggest quarterly decline in earnings since the financial crisis, based on IBES data from Refinitiv.

“I expect a lot of confusing numbers and guidance. COVID is certainly not behind us in any way shape or form, so maybe the V gets elongated some,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Nasdaq was higher and hit another record high, however, helped by gains in , Microsoft Corp and Apple Inc .

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 289.33 points, or 1.11%, to 25,777.95, the S&P 500 lost 11.05 points, or 0.35%, to 3,158.89 and the Nasdaq Composite added 68.25 points, or 0.65%, to 10,560.75.

U.S. stocks had opened higher after data showed the number of Americans filing for jobless benefits dropped to a near four-month low last week, but a record 32.9 million people were collecting unemployment checks in the third week of June.

A batch of upbeat economic data including the record pace of job additions in June has underscored that the stimulus-fueled domestic economy was on the path to recovery.

The benchmark S&P 500 has risen more than 40% from its March closing lows and is now about 7.8% below its February record high. The Nasdaq notched a record close in the prior session.

In a bullish signal for near-term momentum, the benchmark S&P 500’s chart formed a “golden cross” pattern, in which its 50-day moving average vaulted above the 200-day moving average.

Cisco Systems Inc rose as Morgan Stanley upgraded its rating on the network gear maker’s stock to “overweight”.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.63-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.09-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 32 new 52-week highs and 1 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 114 new highs and 29 new lows.