What happened

Shares of Sierra Wireless Inc. (NASDAQ:SWIR) plummeted today as investors digested the news of rising coronavirus cases across five states. 

As of 3:21 p.m. EDT, Sierra's stock was down 14.3%.

So what

Investors had been generally optimistic over the past couple of months as the U.S. government put economic plans in place to help workers and businesses affected by mass closings across the country. But some of that optimism was dashed today as Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Florida reported spikes in COVID-19 cases. 

With many states just beginning to open up back up, the uptick in coronavirus infections means that an economic recovery could be slower than many had hoped for. The news caused the broader market to slide today, with the S&P 500 losing 5.2% later in the day.

A red and green graph on a black background.

Image source: Getty Images.

Some investors may have also been concerned about the additional 1.5 million in jobless claims that were filed over the past week. Though the claims were lower than last week, the U.S. unemployment rate is still at 13% and could take years to get back to its pre-coronavirus level. 

Now what 

While Sierra Wireless' share price slide today didn't directly have anything to do with the company's business, investors should expect more volatility from the company's stock in the near term. With so much uncertainty surrounding the U.S. economy, the job market, and how a potential next wave of COVID-19 infections will affect businesses, stocks could be on a wild ride for the next few months.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.