Investing.com – The Dow deepened its selloff Friday, as rising Covid-19 infections and deaths in the U.S. raised fears about a prolonged shutdown at a time when the economy appears to be on rocky ground following the worst monthly jobs report since the financial crisis.
Coronavirus infections in the U.S. neared a quarter million and deaths topped 6,000, with the country reporting 1,169 deaths on Thursday, the highest daily rise recorded worldwide so far.
In Italy, however, there is a glimmer of hope as the pace of infections continues to slow. Infections rose 4% to 119,827 overnight.
The rising infection count in the U.S. has some worried the government could extend its lockdown measures, including social distancing, beyond the end of April, a move that would throw the U.S. into further economic turmoil and deepen the widely-expected global recession.
“This is in my lifetime humanity’s darkest hour, a big threat to the whole world and it requires for us to stand us, be united,” Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the IMF, said, according to CNBC. “It is way worse than the global financial crisis” of 2008-09, she said.
“This is a crisis like no other.”
Sentiment on the economy was dealt a blow as U.S. nonfarm payrolls slumped by 701,000 in March and the unemployment rate climbed to 4.4%.
But many fear the worst is yet to come as the March’s jobs report did not reflect the full extent of the coronavirus outbreak.
Utilities and energy stocks led the selloff on Wall Street.
Energy stocks gave back some of their gains from a day earlier, falling 2.6%, even as oil prices continued to advance on growing hopes of production, with Russia reportedly expected to join the OPEC+ meeting on Monday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly suggested oil producers should carry out a coordinated production cut of around 10 million barrels per day.