Wall Street stocks skidded sharply lower on Black Friday as investors reacted to fresh travel bans resulting from the discovery in South Africa of a new variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -2.53%, the S&P 500 index SPX, -2.27% and the Nasdaq Composite COMP, -2.23% were all down by at least 2% for the day, the major U.S. shopping day known as Black Friday on which retailers are traditionally perceived to enter the black for the year.
Looking beneath the hood, the damage was widespread.
The S&P 500’s energy sector SP500.10, -4.04% closed down 4% as crude-oil prices XLE, -4.02% trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange saw double-digit percentage declines.
The Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund XLE, -4.02% was down 4%. The fund was led by declines in APA Corp. APA, -8.28%, Occidental Petroleum OXY, -7.22%, Devon Energy Corp. DVN, -5.30% and Marathon Oil Corp. MRO, -6.71%.
Financials were the second worst Black Friday performer among the 11 sectors in the S&P 500 index SPX, -2.27%, dragged down by a retreat in yields for Treasurys, notably the 10-year Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y, 1.479%.
The S&P 500’s financial sector SP500.40, -3.27% was off 3.3%. The Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF XLF, -3.32%, which tracks the sector index, was being led lower by declines in American Express Co. AXP, -8.62%, Comerica Inc. CMA, -5.80%, Huntington Bancshares Inc. HBAN, -5.99%, Wells Fargo & Co. WFC, -5.61% and Invesco IVZ, -5.24%.
Drug manufacturers rose, with shares of Moderna MRNA, +20.57%, which makes one of the most widely administered COVID vaccines, skyrocketing more than 20%. Pfizer shares PFE advanced by 6%.
However, those gains didn’t offer much of a lift to pharmaceutical-related funds, including Invesco Dynamic Pharmaceuticals ETF PJP, -1.59%, which ended down 1.6%; iShares U.S. Pharmaceuticals ETF IHE, +0.20%, up just 0.2% on the day; and SPDR S&P Pharmaceuticals ETF XPH, -1.94%, down 1.9%.
The popular airline-related exchanged-traded fund U.S. Global JETS, which has come to serve as a good indicator of the market’s view on the progress out of pandemic-related restrictions and toward economic recovery, closed down 7.2%.
Aircraft maker Boeing Co. BA, -5.41% retreated by 5%, and Southwest Airlines LUV, -4.32% stock was more than 4% lower. Shares of American Airlines AAL, -8.79% slumped more steeply, losing 8.8%. Meanwhile, Expedia shares EXPE, -9.48% were down9.5% and United Airlines UAL, -9.57% traded off almost 10%.
A separate exchange-traded fund that is sometimes used to represent optimism about changes in activity tied to COVID restrictions, the ETFMG Travel Tech ETF AWAY, -6.44%, was down 6.4% on Friday.
However, a number of stay-at-home stocks were outperforming the broader market. Videoconference company Zoom Video Communications Inc. ZM, +5.72% rose 5.7%, while streaming giant Netflix NFLX, +1.12% gained 1.1%.
The Direxion Work From Home ETF, WFH, -1.22% lost 1.2%. Declines in Avaya Holdings Corp. AVYA, -5.25%, Xerox Holdings Corp. XRX, -4.65% and Progress Software Corp. PRGS, -3.86% were the worst performers in the ETF.
Crypto prices also were taking it on the chin.
Bitcoin BTCUSD, -1.38% was down 5% over the past 24 hours, trading at $ 54,840 midday Friday on CoinDesk. The cryptocurrency is down more than 20% from its all-time high of $ 68,990 on Nov. 10, meeting a common criterion for a bear market in an asset.
Check out: Major cryptocurrencies tumble amid concern about new coronavirus variant
Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar was down 0.7% on the session as measured by the ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.73%, dragging it down from near a 16-month high.