The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell Tuesday amid ongoing concerns about the impact of the Delta variant on the economic reopening.
The Dow lost 215 points, dragged down by a 2% loss in Boeing stock. The S&P 500 lost 0.22%. The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.2% to hit a new intraday record. The NYSE was closed on Monday for Labor Day.
Goldman Sachs downgraded its economic outlook over the weekend, referring to the delta option and weakening fiscal incentives. Goldman now sees 5.7% annual growth in 2021, which is below the 6.2% consensus. The company lowered its fourth quarter GDP outlook from 6.5% to 5.5%.
“The hurdle to strong consumption growth in the future appears to be much higher: the delta variant is already dragging growth in the third quarter, and weakening fiscal stimulus and a slower service sector recovery will be headwinds in the medium term,” said Goldman.
Morgan Stanley downgraded US stocks to underweight on Tuesday.
“We’re seeing a bumpy September-October as the final stages of a mid-cycle transition,” wrote Andrew Sheets’ strategists. “We continue to believe this is a ‘normal’ cycle, just hotter and faster, and our cycle model remains ‘stretched’. But the next two months pose an overwhelming risk to growth, politics and the legislative agenda.”
Boeing shares were lower after the Wall Street Journal reported that deliveries for the 787 Dreamliner were likely to be further delayed. PPG Industries, a paint maker, warned that sales could fall below this quarter due to logistics issues and higher raw material costs. PPG Industries shares ticked 2% lower.
Drug stocks like Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Amgen fell slightly after Morgan Stanley downgraded the three stocks.
The S&P 500 is unchanged for September, a month that historically has challenged the markets. The month saw an average decline of 0.6%, according to the CFRA, the worst of all months, with a positive rate of only 45%.
In Friday’s regular trading session, the Dow and S&P 500 fell after the August job report fell below expectations, underscoring ongoing concerns over the spread of Covid and its Delta variant. The number of non-farm employees rose 235,000 in August, the Department of Labor reported, but economists polled by Dow Jones estimated 720,000 jobs.
Since the start of the year, the Dow is up 15%, the S&P is up 20.4% and the Nasdaq Composite is up 19.3%, although investors and analysts are still looking for a major correction in September.
“Granted, passive investors have felt no pain just yet,” Bank of America said in a note on Friday, adding that “2021 will be another year in which the [S&P 500] has smashed it, but some signs suggest it may be time to get “pickier” about stocks. “