NEW YORK, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks traded sharply lower on Monday morning as a market sell-off accelerated on Wall Street.
Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 586.86 points, or 1.7 percent, to 33,998.02. The S&P 500 slid 74.81 points, or 1.69 percent, to 4,449.11. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 298.00 points, or 1.98 percent, to 14,745.97.
Ten of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors pulled back in morning trading, with energy and financials both down more than 2 percent, leading the laggards. The utilities group eked out a modest gain.
The above market reactions came as investors worried that a rapid spread of the Delta variant could stall an economic recovery.
The average daily increase of cases in the United States was over 142,000 in the seven-day period ending Friday, showed the latest statistics compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As of Monday morning, more than 42 million COVID-19 cases have been reported in the country with over 673,700 related fatalities, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Wall Street is awaiting a policy statement from the Federal Reserve as the U.S. central bank is set to kick off its two-day policy meeting on Tuesday, followed by a key announcement on Wednesday.
"We expect the Fed is not quite ready to taper yet, but we expect further guidance on Wednesday," Chris Low, chief economist at FHN Financial, said Monday in a note.
For the trading week ending Sept. 17, the Dow lost 0.1 percent, while the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite lost 0.6 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.