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US Stocks Fall Amid Pandemic Concerns


FILE - A sign for Wall Street is seen in front of the New York Stock Exchange, in New York City, Jan. 31, 2020.

U.S. stocks fell sharply Friday, despite congressional approval of a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill, as world economies continued to grapple with containing the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell nearly 4.1%, while the S&P 500 dropped 3.4% and the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 3.8%.

Stocks rallied earlier this week after the Senate approved the stimulus package to try to blunt the economic impact of the pandemic and provide assistance directly to Americans. A record-high 3.3 million people filed for U.S. unemployment benefits this week, magnifying investor uncertainty as the pandemic has forced the closure of all but essential businesses in many areas of the world.

Markets in Europe also fell sharply, with Britain’s FTSE 100 Index finishing 5.25% lower as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he'd tested positive for the coronavirus.

The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index closed 3.26% lower, and Germany’s DAX Index ended the day 3.68% lower.

Asian stocks, however, finished the week’s last day of trading with gains. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index closed Friday 3.88% higher, while the Shanghai Composite Index finished with a slight gain of 0.26% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.56%.