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Delta Variant Rattles Monday Pre-Market

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Monday, July 19, 2021

Markets are down big to start a new trading week. After beginning to test new all-time closing highs earlier this month, we’re following last week’s lower trading with a big drop: the Dow -475 points, the S&P 500 -50 and the Nasdaq -125. These figures, however, are off the lows for the pre-market session; perhaps the hangover is clearing up?

News reports about new Covid-19 outbreaks in several pockets of the U.S. — all of which are vaccinated well below the goal of 70% — combined with a highly infectious Delta variant have caused a disruption in the narrative that the Great Reopening is ready to go full throttle. Companies looking to bounce back from pandemic-level challenges — like United Airlines (UAL - Free Report) , Royal Caribbean (RCL - Free Report) and Exxon Mobil (XOM - Free Report) — are all down sharply.

Covid cases have again blossomed to 30K new cases per day, largely due to this Delta variant making its way through regions of the country where masking and vaccinations are less appreciated. Cruise ships, for instance, aren’t going to fill their ships with people carrying and spreading a potentially deadly illness — more than 600K Americans have already succumbed their lives to Covid — and there companies and stock prices are pulling back as a result.

Bigger questions then follow in the minds of investors: have we already reached peak growth? Are we coming back down again? Are Fed asset purchases and near-zero interest rates going to be with us indefinitely? How soon we travel from fretting that our economy is growing too fast to fretting that it’s all drying up? This is the world in which market participants live today.

In addition to companies like United reporting earnings this week, we also expect results from Netflix (NFLX - Free Report) , Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Free Report) , Intel (INTC - Free Report) and Twitter (TWTR - Free Report) . We also see some economic reports like Housing Starts/Building Permits, PMI Manufacturing and Services, and of course new and continuing Jobless Claims on Thursday. Hopefully we’ll be able to catch our breath and move forward this week.

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