Outbreaks in many parts of the world have doused optimism over early results for a potential vaccine that had investors envisioning a possible return to normal. Such hopes have been tempered by a recognition that hurdles remain before the vaccine can become widespread, with medical workers and those with health risks likely getting access to such protection first.
Pessimism over scant chances the Democrats and Republicans will manage to reach agreement on further economic stimulus before the end of the year is another factor pulling shares lower, said Nobuhiko Kuramochi, market strategist at Mizuho Securities.
On the Tokyo Stock Exchange, issues related to real estate, transportation and energy were all falling, he said.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 index fell 1%, to 3,537.01. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.1% to 29,080.17 and the Nasdaq composite lost 0.7%, to 11,709.59.
The trend is worsening in the U.S., in almost every state. In New York, for example, the state is ordering restaurants, bars and gyms to close at 10 p.m., beginning Friday.
New York was devastated by the virus earlier this year but seemed to have gotten it largely under control. In Europe, several governments have brought back even tougher restrictions that will likely restrain the economy.
Declines in U.S. Big Tech stocks, which have held out well throughout much of the pandemic, helped pull the market lower. Microsoft and Facebook each slipped 0.5% on Wall Street.
In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude lost 45 cents to $40.67 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 33 cents to $41.12 on Thursday. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 43 cents to $43.10 a barrel.
In currency trading, the U.S. dollar edged down to 104.88 Japanese yen from 105.13 yen late Thursday. The euro cost $1.1810, up from $1.1803.
AP Business Writers Stan Choe and Daimian J. Troise contributed.
FILE - In this Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, file photo, a giant American Flag hangs on the New York Stock Exchange. U.S. stocks are climbing Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, kicking off a potentially turbulent stretch for markets, as Wall Street recovers some of its sharp sell-off from last week. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
Credit: Mary Altaffer
Credit: Mary Altaffer