Stocks close lower as COVID-19 spread spooks investors

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U.S. stocks closed sharply lower Thursday, reversing a three-day rally, as growing coronavirus case counts and mounting shutdown orders weighed on risk appetite. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 319 points, 1.1%, to close near 29,079, based on preliminary figures, while the S&P 500 gave up 36 points or 1%, settling near 3,537. The Nasdaq Composite index was 77 points, 0.7%, lower, near 11,710. Also on Thursday, hopes for swift passage of a new virus relief package dimmed. Shares of J.C. Penney Co. [s; JCPNQ] surged 30% as the retailer, currently in bankruptcy protection, said it was launching a new women’s brand.
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