Stocks closed broadly lower Friday on Wall Street following another choppy day of trading as worries about the worsening pandemic undercut growing optimism about a coming coronavirus vaccine.
The S&P 500 fell 0.7 percent, erasing its gains from a day earlier. The benchmark index, which climbed to an all-time high Monday, posted its first weekly decline after two weeks of gains. The index is still up 8.8 percent so far this month.
Technology, financial and industrial companies drove much of the selling, which turned volatile in the final hour of regular trading. Treasury yields were mostly lower, a sign of caution in the market. Stock indexes around the world made modest moves.
Traders are balancing cautious optimism that a working coronavirus vaccine will be widely distributed next year against jitters over surging virus cases and the economic impact of new restrictions being put in place across the U.S. on people and businesses to limit the spread.
"It's a market concerned about growth," said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. "That's the big uncertainty."
The S&P 500 fell 24.33 points to 3,557.54. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 219.75 points, or 0.7 percent, to 29,263.48. The Nasdaq composite gave up an early gain and dropped 49.74 points, or 0.4 percent, to 11,854.97.
Small company stocks held up better than the rest of the market. The Russell 2000 small-cap index rose 1.21 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,785.34.
Wall Street suddenly began to teeter-totter this week after a big November rally swept both the S&P 500 and Dow to record highs. Evidence is piling up for investors both for hope about the economy's prospects next year and for fear about the damage accruing in the shorter term.