Wall Street plunges as Delta variant sparks fears

The Dow plunged more than 700 points Monday as fears of the fast-spreading Delta variant sparked a broad sell-off on Wall Street, sending investors seeking safety to the bond market.

Investors worried about the strength of the economic recovery as the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant feeds a surge in new infections and deaths, nearly exclusively among unvaccinated people.

In Washington, U.S. President Joe Biden pleaded with Americans to get vaccinated.

“If you're unvaccinated, you are not protected. So please, please get vaccinated now. It works. It's safe, it's free, it's convenient. You know? This virus doesn't have to hold you back any longer.”

The Dow ended the day down 2%, its worst day in nearly 9 months. The S&P 500 lost 1.6%. The Nasdaq shed the least, falling 1%.

Investors – fearing another round of shutdowns - placed bets on stay-at-home stocks like exercise bike maker Peloton, streaming device maker Roku and e-signature company DocuSign.

Concerns that the Delta variant could derail a broader economic recovery especially hit economically sensitive stocks hard. Travel-related stocks like United and Carnival lost more than 5%.

Investors fled to the safety of Treasuries, driving down the yield on the benchmark 10-year bond to lows not seen since February. Those falling yields yanked down interest rate-sensitive bank stocks. JPMorgan Chase lost more than 3%.

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