U.S. stocks retreat from records amid COVID-19 worries
The New York Stock Exchange, New York, U.S. /CFP

The New York Stock Exchange, New York, U.S. /CFP

Major U.S. stock indices retreated from records on Monday as investors weighed progress on U.S. infrastructure legislation against concerns about the latest COVID-19 wave. 

Markets greeted the news that President Joe Biden's $1.2 trillion infrastructure package cleared a key Senate procedural vote, setting the stage for the bill to pass the chamber on Tuesday. 

However, offsetting that positive news was the latest surge in COVID-19, with the Delta variant leading to a spike in infections in states with low vaccination rates. 

The latest COVID-19 trend weighed on travel-related stocks. Major U.S. airlines dropped more than 2 percent, along with hotel chains such as Marriott International. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by 0.3 percent to end the day at 35,101.85, while the broad-based S&P 500 dipped by 0.1 percent to 4,432.35 after both closed at records on Friday. 

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced by 0.2 percent to finish at 4,860.18.

Among individual companies, Moderna shot up 17.1 percent, and Pfizer won 2 percent as more governments and employers impose vaccine requirements. 

The Pentagon plans to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for all members of the U.S. military by mid-September, according to a memo from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. 

Meanwhile, Tyson Foods jumped by 8.7 percent as it projected higher than expected 2021 sales after reporting increased profits in the quarter ending July 3. 

Oil, gold decline

Oil prices fell as much as 4 percent, extending last week's steep losses on a rising U.S. dollar and concerns that Delta variant-related restrictions in Asia could slow a global recovery in fuel demand.

U.S. crude oil futures settled at $66.48 per barrel, down $1.80 or 2.6 percent. Brent crude ended at $69.04, down $1.66 or 2.4 percent.

Gold slumped to a more than four-month low as strong U.S. jobs data bolstered expectations for an early tapering of the Federal Reserve's economic support measures. 

Spot gold dropped by 1.9 percent to $1,729.09 an ounce. Meanwhile, U.S. gold futures settled by 2.1 percent down at $1,726.50.

Bitcoin hit a three-month high and broke through the $46,000 barrier as gold fell.

(With input from AFP and Reuters)

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