Dow falls 4% as US stocks sell-off deepens on virus fears

March 05, 2020: Wall Street stocks plunged deeper into the red and oil prices slid below $50 a barrel Thursday afternoon as financial markets communicated more distress over the coronavirus.

Near 2040 GMT, the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average was off about 1,050 points, or 3.9 percent, at 26,036.91.

The broad-based S&P 500 slumped 3.8 percent to 3,012.44, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index sank 3.4 percent to 8,712.53.

Oil prices also continued to retreat as the virus outbreak batters the outlook for petroleum consumption. Brent oil futures in London ended at $49.99 a barrel, down 2.2 percent, the lowest since July 2017.

Among the announcements Thursday, Russia canceled its main business showcase set for June, the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, because of coronavirus, while Italy said its sporting events will be held behind closed doors until April 3.

US economic data thus far has not shown much hit from the coronavirus, but the market fears what is coming down the road.

“The market can factor in bad news if we have the data, but it's difficult dealing with uncertainty,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist for Prudential Financial.

She said the biggest worry was that the virus crimps US consumer spending, which is tied to nearly 70 percent of the US economy.

“If customers are afraid to go out, shopping, to dinner, then you see consumer spending going back and then you start seeing layoffs from small and midsize business owners,” Krosby said.

AFP/APP

Posted on: 2020-03-06T05:20:00+05:00

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