S&P 500 ends lower on new COVID strain

The S&P 500 closed lower on Monday, having clawed its way back from steep losses early in the session...

as worries over a new, fast-spreading Covid-19 strain in the U.K. overshadowed the likely passage of a long-awaited stimulus package out of Washington.

The Nasdaq joined the S&P in the red, while the Dow bounced back for a slight gain, propped up by stocks in the financial sector such as Goldman Sachs - which ended the day up about 6%.

The Dow rebound came after the Federal Reserve announced it would relax financial industry restrictions.

David Bahnsen is chief investment officer at The Bahnsen Group:

"I think the biggest news is in the financials. The Fed's announcement of the capital adequacy of 33 major financial institutions their ability to resume stock buybacks, dividend payments at least back to the pre-Covid level. That's significant and you're getting a bounce on financials. So you're seeing a lot of divergence in markets today."

Nike also gave the blue-chip Dow some support.

The athletic apparel maker rose after reporting strong earnings and boosting its full-year revenue forecast.

Meanwhile, news of a highly infectious COVID-19 strain in Britain -- which prompted countries to shut their doors to travelers from the UK -- sent airline stocks sliding, even with the prospect of $15 billion in payroll assistance for commercial carriers included in the stimulus deal.

And after much hype over its debut on the S&P 500, Tesla's stock fell on Monday, sliding over 6% as it became the most valuable stock ever admitted to Wall Street's main benchmark.