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Markets

US stocks rattled by fresh fears of second coronavirus wave

Rising cases in US, Beijing and Tokyo highlight risks of reopening

A nearly empty trading floor is seen at the New York Stock Exchange.   © Reuters

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks tumbled on Monday after spikes in coronavirus infections were reported in parts of the country, as well as in China, where the outbreak had been said to be under control.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened with a decline of more than 600 points, or about 2%, and was briefly down more than 700 points before paring its losses. The broader S&P 500 index also opened around 2% lower.

The U.S. market drop followed a broad sell-off in Asia. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average sank for a third straight trading day, falling 3.5% to close at 21,531, its first drop below 24,000 since May 29. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slid about 2.2% to a two-week low of 23,777, marking a fourth consecutive session of losses.

Big decliners in the Tokyo market included automakers Suzuki Motor and Mazda Motor, property developers Mitsui Fudosan and Sumitomo Realty & Development and airlines ANA Holdings and Japan Airlines. These stocks were among the first to start decline in March as the pandemic gained momentum.

The weekend brought reports of the outbreak gaining steam in some of the most populous U.S. states, including California and Texas. Florida recorded its highest number of new daily cases yet over the weekend, with more than 2,000 infections on both Saturday and Sunday.

China on Saturday shut down a wholesale food market in Beijing associated with an infection cluster. The capital, which reported its first locally transmitted case in more than two months on Friday, has confirmed 79 new cases since then.

Tokyo announced 48 new coronavirus infections on Monday, after reporting 47 on Sunday. Nearly half of Monday's cases appear to be associated with the capital's nightlife.

Another 13 are believed to have been infected through gatherings such as dining out with friends, stoking concern about the dangers of reopening too early.

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