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Bitcoin, Foot Locker, Oil Prices Active; European COVID Surge Rattles Stock Markets

A delayed House voted on President Joe Biden's $1.75 trillion spending bill, as well as a worry Covid surge in Europe, has stocks moving lower on Wall Street Friday.

U.S. stocks traded mixed Friday, following on from record highs for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq last night, amid a delay in voting on President Joe Biden's $1.75 trillion social spending bill in the House and renewed concerns for a fourth wave of coronavirus infections in Europe.

A filibuster from Republican lawmaker Kevin McCarthy delayed a House vote on the bill, which the Congressional Budget Office said would add around $367 billion to the deficit over the next ten years, although the lower chamber ultimately approved it in an early vote Friday.

Alongside that fiscal doubt, investors were also looking at headlines from Europe, where Austria imposed a national lockdown, set to begin on Monday, after recording more than 14,000 new infections yesterday.  Austria will also make vaccination for all its citizens mandatory, becoming the first country in the world to issue such an edict. 

That move followed a dire warning from outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who called the Covid situation "dramatic" as infections surge and fatalities rise.

The lockdown, as well as fresh restrictions on movement and businesses in Germany, pushed the euro to a mid-July low of 1.1289 against the U.S. dollar and clipped bets on near-term energy demand in the world's biggest economic bloc.

Brent crude contracts for January delivery, the global pricing benchmark, slumped $2.60 to $78.67 per barrel in overnight trading, while WTI futures for the same month were marked $2.37 lower at $76.00 per barrel.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 215 points at the open while the S&P 500 dipped 3 points to the downside.

The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite gained 55 points as benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields edged lower, to 1.529%, in early New York trading.

In terms of individual stocks, Foot Lock  (FL) - Get Foot Locker, Inc. Report shares slumped 9.5%  after the sports apparel retailer posted stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings but cautioned that supply chain disruptions would linger throughout the holiday period.

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Pfize  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report shares jumped higher, while Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Moderna, Inc. Report surged alongside it, after the U.S. Food & Drug Administration approved the use of their Covid booster shots in all American adults.

The booster dose, the FDA said, can come six months after the completion of the two-shot series of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines following a review of Emergency Use Authorization approvals for both drugmakers. 

Nike  (NKE) - Get NIKE, Inc. (NKE) Report shares bumped 0.6% higher after the world's biggest sports apparel group boosted its quarterly dividend by 11%, extending its run of increased payouts to twenty consecutive years.

Applied Materials  (AMAT) - Get Applied Materials, Inc. Report shares fell 4.25% after the tech group focused on chipmaking machines posted weaker-than-expected fourth quarter earnings and cautioned that supply chain snarls would hit near-term profits.

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Palo Alto Networks  (PANW) - Get Palo Alto Networks, Inc. Report shares, however, rose 1.8% after the cloud security firm posted stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings and boosted its near-term profit outlook.

Palo Alto said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in October were pegged at $1.64 per share, with revenues rising 32% to $1.2 billion, a figure the group expects to rise to 1.285 billion this quarter as demand for its next generation firewall continues to grow as companies move faster towards cloud computing adoption. 

In other markets, Bitcoin prices extended declines in overnight trading, taking the weekly slump to around 15%, as investors backed away from the world's biggest cryptocurrency following a court ruling on the collapse of an online exchange in Japan.

In overseas markets, Europe's Stoxx 600 fell 0.35% lower by mid-day trading in Frankfurt as Austria's lockdown rattled markets, while the the Asia region-wide MSCI ex-Japan index was marked 0.3%% lower on the session. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.5% higher at 29,745.87 points after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida unveiled details of a $490 billion stimulus plan.