Wall Street Mixed at Open as China, Covid Fears Dominate; Dow Down 20 Pts

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Investing.com — U.S. stock markets retreated from all-time highs at the open on Monday, weighed on by fresh worries for the future of Chinese ADRs and by concern at the growing spread of Covid-19 in the U.S., and its possible impact on the economy. 

By 9:40 AM ET (1340 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 20 points, or less than 0.1%, at 35,041 points. The Nasdaq Composite was down in line while S&P 500 was up by less than 0.1%.

Earlier, newswires reported that Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) had cut its U.S. growth forecasts for the third and fourth quarters by 1 percentage point each, in part due to the renewed spread of Covid-19 weighing on the service sector. Separately, a survey by Deutsche Bank (DE:DBKGn) showed that over half of its clients expect some form of Covid-related restrictions to be back in place before the end of the year.

The morning’s biggest movers were, once again, largely Chinese ADRs, which tumbled after a multi-pronged attack on the country’s tech sector over the weekend. The government confirmed leaks on Friday that it intends to force online education providers to turn into non-profits, while two separate regulators banned Tencent Music from holding certain exclusive music rights and issued a sharply-worded reminder to food delivery companies of the need to pay at least the minimum wage. 

After earlier dealings, EdTech names New Oriental Education & Technology (NYSE:EDU) was down 24% while TAL Education (NYSE:TAL) was down 17% and Ke Holdings (NYSE:BEKE) was down 18%. Tencent Music  (NYSE:TME) stock meanwhile fell 5.1% and Meituan (OTC:MPNGY), the country’s biggest food delivery service, fell 12% to a new all-time low.  Meituan is also backed by Tencent Holdings (OTC:TCEHY), which fell 7.8% to a 10-month low.

In the U.S., meanwhile, Aon (NYSE:AON) stock rose 6.5% and Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) stock fell 5.9% after the two insurers called off their planned merger due to resistance from antitrust regulators at the Department of Justice, who feared the deal would limit choice and lead to higher prices.