Dow ends lower for third day as investors eye rising coronavirus cases and lack of fiscal stimulus

U.S. stocks finished well off session lows but ended with losses for a third day on Thursday, as rising coronavirus cases, especially in Europe, resulted in new restrictions on businesses and travel.

Investor sentiment also took a hit following a rise in weekly U.S. jobless claims and a lack of progress in Congress on another fiscal stimulus bill which is now unlikely until after the November elections.

How are stock benchmarks performing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.39% fell 19.80 points, or 0.1%, to 28,494.2, but well off its intraday nadir of 28,181.54; the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.01% was down 5.33 points to end at 3,483.34, a drop of 0.2%, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.36% slumped by 0.5%, a fall of 54.86 points to 11,713.8.

The small-cap Russell 2000 RUT, -0.31%, however, gained 1.1% to end at 1,638.88.

On Wednesday, the Dow slumped 165.81 points, 0.6%, to finish at 28,514.00, while the S&P 500 index fell 23.26 points, 0.7%, to end at 3,488.67. The Nasdaq dropped 95.17 points, or 0.8%, to close at 11,768.73.

Read: Dow transports rallies toward a record, to buck the broader stock market’s selloff

What’s driving the market?

Investors wrestled with concerns about rising numbers of COVID-19 cases and fading hopes for any further fiscal stimulus from Congress before the November U.S. elections.

“It was only a matter of time before investors are no longer able to ignore the sharp increase in new COVID-19 cases and new restrictions being introduced throughout Europe,” said Milan Cutkovic, a market analyst at Axi, in a note.

France joined the U.K. in

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