Wall Street Opens Mixed as Lockdown Fears Rise, Dow Falls 200 Pts

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Investing.com — U.S. stock markets opened mixed Friday, with the economically-stable tech sector outperforming after news of another Covid-driven lockdown in Europe weighed on sentiment. 

Earlier Friday, Austria announced plans to reimpose a full Covid-19 lockdown to combat soaring infections, becoming the first country in western Europe to reimpose such severe sanctions. Neighboring Germany warned it may follow suit, raising fears of another step backwards in global economic activity.

By 9:40 AM ET (1440 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 200 points, or 0.6% at 35,879 points. The S&P 500 was also down 0.1%, but the  Nasdaq Composite gained 0.4%, climbing to a new record high. 

Stocks of tech giants Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) headed higher Friday as investors sought out the safety of these financially strong companies, although Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) underperformed following a report that the iPhone-maker may debut its electric car as soon as 2025.

On the flip side, stocks linked to the travel industry, like the airlines Delta (NYSE:DAL), United (NASDAQ:UAL) and American (NASDAQ:AAL) and the cruise operators, Norwegian (NYSE:NCLH) and Carnival (NYSE:CUK), were hit hard by the lockdown news. Additionally, oil firms Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron (NYSE:CVX) fell 2.1% and 1.8% as crude prices sank.

Elsewhere, Foot Locker (NYSE:FL) stock slumped almost 8% after the sports apparel retailer warned of global supply constraints heading into the busiest time of the year for retailers, while Workday (NASDAQ:WDAY) stock traded 6% lower amid valuation concerns over its proposal to buy VNDLY for over $500 million.

The pharmaceutical sector will also be in the spotlight after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized booster doses of Covid-19 vaccines for all adults who were vaccinated with either the Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) drug and the shot developed by Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and partner BioNTech.

In other news, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on President Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion social spending bill on Friday. If the measure passes, it would still need approval in the Senate before Biden could sign it into law. 

Additionally, Federal Reserve policymakers Richard Clarida and Christopher Waller are due to speak Friday, with investors looking for signs of increased concern at the surging inflation levels in the economy, as this could point to a speeding up of the central bank’s tapering process.

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