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 35058.52 -85.79 -0.24%
SP500 S&P 500 4401.46 -20.84 -0.47%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 14660.575708 -180.14 -1.21%

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. 22.80 -0.36 -1.55%
DAL DELTA AIR LINES, INC. 40.96 -0.71 -1.70%

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. 222.27 -3.58 -1.59%
CAT CATERPILLAR, INC. 209.90 -1.13 -0.54%
FCX FREEPORT-MCMORAN, INC. 36.35 -0.30 -0.82%

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

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
AMD ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES, INC. 91.03 -0.79 -0.86%
NVDA NVIDIA CORP. 192.08 -0.86 -0.45%

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 DIDI GLOBAL INC 8.04 0.00 0.00%
BABA ALIBABA GROUP HOLDING LTD. 186.07 -5.69 -2.97%
BIDU BAIDU, INC. 157.83 -4.54 -2.80%

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%.