Stocks tumble as flight to safety drops 10-year yield to lowest since February

10-year yield falls below 1.29%

U.S. stock markets were under pressure Thursday as the spreading of COVID-19 variants sparked concerns over global growth. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 256 points, or 0.74%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite declined 0.85% and 0.72%, respectively. The selling tipped both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite off of Wednesday's all-time highs. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 29288.72 -395.02 -1.33%
SP500 S&P 500 3648.89 -70.15 -1.89%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 10751.400882 -300.24 -2.72%

The sharp selloff in the stock market steered investors into the bond market, pushing the 10-year yield down by 3.4 basis points to 1.287%, the lowest since Feb. 18. 

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In stocks, financials, which benefit from a steeper yield curve, were in the crosshairs. 

Carnival Corp. and Delta Airlines suffered amid concerns a rebound in COVID-19 cases could stunt demand for travel. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
CCL CARNIVAL CORP. 9.41 -0.39 -3.98%
DAL DELTA AIR LINES INC. 28.52 -0.96 -3.26%

Dow component Boeing Co. was lower for a fourth straight session following reports that a unit of Russian airliner Aeroflot canceled an order for 20 Boeing 737 Max jets. 

Other industrials, including Caterpillar Inc. and Freeport-McMoRan Inc., were also weaker.  

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
BA THE BOEING CO. 127.70 -5.64 -4.23%
CAT CATERPILLAR INC. 165.73 -2.13 -1.27%
FCX FREEPORT-MCMORAN INC. 27.96 +0.12 +0.41%

Meanwhile, chipmakers Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Nvidia Corp. struggled under growth concerns. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
AMD ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES INC. 64.28 -4.08 -5.97%
NVDA NVIDIA CORP. 121.95 -5.41 -4.24%

Chinese tech stocks listed in the U.S. tumbled in early trading amid concerns Beijing will toughen measures on the sector. Didi Global Inc. shares have plunged 27% since Chinese regulators on July 1 announced an investigation into national data security risks at the company. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
DIDI n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
BABA ALIBABA GROUP HOLDING LTD. 78.02 -2.97 -3.67%
BIDU BAIDU INC. 118.17 -3.23 -2.66%

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil climbed 74 cents to $72.94 a barrel while gold slipped $1.90 to $1,799.60 an ounce. 

Overseas markets were sharply lower.

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In Europe, France’s CAC 40 and Germany’s DAX 30 declined 2.01% and 1.73%, respectively, after the European Central Bank tweaked its inflation target to 2% "over the medium term." The central bank will allow for inflation to run above the level for a brief time. 

Elsewhere in the region, Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 1.68%.

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 2.89%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 slid 0.88% and China’s Shanghai Composite slipped 0.79%.