U.S. equities closed sharply lower Monday on worries over the recent uptick in COVID-19 Delta-variant cases and the potential for it to stunt global economic growth.

Defensive investments like consumer staples, health care and gold held up better, while cyclical assets such as energy, financials, oil and small-caps lagged, reflecting heightened worries over the ongoing pandemic’s impact on the outlook for the economic recovery.

The flight to safer assets pushed bond prices higher and pushed 10-year Treasury yields to their lowest level in more than five months.

The price of crude oil was down $5.28 at $66.28 per barrel, and the spot price of gold was down $3 to $1,812.30.

Analysts cautioned to keep Monday’s drop in perspective. With Monday’s dip, the stock market is still less than 4 percent from its all-time high. The Standard & Poor’s 500 is up more than 13 percent so far this year, on top of historically strong bull-market gains that started in March 2020.

Potential help is on the way this week, as quarterly corporate earnings announcements kick into high gear. Bellwethers like Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola, Intel, AT&T and American Express are set to release second-quarter results this week, providing a reminder that the corporate profit rebound remains strong, with earnings anticipated to rise by roughly 70 percent this quarter.

Edward Jones analysts said they believe earnings will continue to rise at a healthy clip for the next several quarters.

The daily stock report is provided by the Salida office of Edward Jones.  

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