Wall St hits near 7-week low on virus fears, stimulus fog

U.S. stock indexes fell sharply Monday following a report that large global banks were involved in transactions flagged as possible money laundering

As of writing, the S&P 500 was down 2% on the day at 3,252, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was losing 2.27% at 27,027 and the Nasdaq Composite was falling 1.85% at 10,596.

Talks surrounding a second U.S. stimulus bill were in focus on Monday as the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the nomination process for her successor ahead of the election, was seen as potentially throwing a spanner in the works and delaying the bill until sometime after 3 November.

Bank stocks fell Monday after a news report that JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank and other giant banks defied money-laundering crackdowns.

Marriott International Inc, Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc and Hyatt Hotels Corp dropped between 1.5% and 3.6%, while casino operators Wynn Resorts Ltd, MGM Resorts International and Las Vegas Sands Corp shed between 2.7% and 6.0%.

Also on investors' minds, news that the United Kingdom was considering yet another national lockdown to curb an increase in new cases of Covid-19 across the country led to sharp declines in stocks of Carnival, Southwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines. Airlines stocks plummeted Monday, with United Airlines down almost 9% and American Airlines down 7.4%. September is historically the worst month for stocks, according to the Associated Press.

It's been a rough month so far for the market and technology shares in particular.

Another factor weighed on the market on Monday.

Investors got a jolt early morning on the possibility of more coronavirus shutdowns in Europe combined with ongoing uncertainty surrounding the U.S.

Over the weekend, China announced a new regulatory body that could blacklist foreign companies that put China's national security at risk. (Facebook Inc., Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. were all down at least 2% in morning trading.) What's more, the United States' relationship with China is also in the spotlight as President Donald Trump approved a deal that would allow Walmart and Oracle to take a minority stake in a new USA -headquartered company called TikTok Global. US tech stocks, which led the market to new records, have been sliding in recent weeks.

TikTok owner ByteDance will hold an 80% stake in TikTok U.S. with Oracle Inc. and Walmart Inc. taking a minority stake after receiving approval from the Trump administration. Retail sales grew more slowly in August after an extra $600 per week in federal unemployment benefits expired.

The Federal Reserve has cut interest rates to historic lows and said it expects to keep them down through at least 2023, but Congress has been deadlocked about providing additional pandemic economic assistance.

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