U.S. stocks closed steeply lower after a late-session sell-off on Wednesday as investors weighed surging COVID-19 infections and mounting shutdowns against encouraging vaccine developments.
While the three major U.S. stock indexes oscillated through much of the day, with economically-sensitive cyclicals and small caps leading the way, they closed sharply in the red.
“It’s a confused market because portfolio managers don’t know which time period to focus on,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York. “It’s this trade-off between the near term over the six to nine months of continued spread of the virus and the period after that when everyone’s vaccinated and the virus is eradicated.”
“There’s a lot of issues out there but the decided bias has been toward value and cyclicals,” Ghriskey added.
Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech revealed a 95% success rate at the conclusion of their COVID-19 vaccine trial, just days after Moderna Inc announced a similar rate of success in preliminary data from its vaccine candidate.