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US Stocks Fall Sharply Again           02/28 09:25

   U.S. stocks fell sharply in early trading Friday and were on track for their 
worst week since October 2008 as the spreading coronavirus threatens to derail 
the global economy.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks fell sharply in early trading Friday and were 
on track for their worst week since October 2008 as the spreading coronavirus 
threatens to derail the global economy.

   The virus outbreak has been shutting down industrial centers, emptying shops 
and severely crimping travel all over the world. More companies are warning 
investors that their finances will take a hit because of disruptions to supply 
chains and sales. Governments are taking increasingly drastic measures as they 
scramble to contain the virus.

   The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 974 points, or 3.8%, to 24,791 as of 
10:11 a.m. The S&P 500 lost 3.7% and the Nasdaq fell 3.2%. China's benchmark 
index fell 3.7% and Germany's DAX fell 4.1%.

   The benchmark S&P 500 index has now lost 15% since hitting a record high 
just 10 days ago. Crude oil prices fell again. The rout has knocked every major 
index into what market watchers call a "correction," or a fall of 10% from a 
peak. The last time that occurred was in late 2018, and market watchers have 
said for months that stocks were heavily overpriced and long overdue for 
another pullback.

   Bond prices soared again as investors sought safety and became more 
pessimistic about the economy's prospects. That pushed yields to more record 
lows. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell sharply, to 1.17% from 1.30% 
late Thursday. That yield is a benchmark for home mortgages and many other 
kinds of loans.

   Crude oil prices slumped 4.2% over worries that global travel and shipping 
will be severely crimped and hurt demand for energy.

   The weeklong market sell-off follows months of uncertainty about the spread 
of the virus, which hit China in December and shut down large swaths of that 
nation by January. China is still the hardest hit country and has most of the 
83,000 cases worldwide and related deaths.

   Uncertainty turned into fear as the virus started jumping to places outside 
of the epicenter and dashed hopes for containment.

   Airlines and cruise operators have suffered some of the worst hits as flight 
routes are cancelled, along with travel plans. Big names like Apple and 
Budweiser brewer AB InBev are part of a growing list of companies expecting 
financial pain from the virus. Dell and athletic-wear company Columbia 
Sportswear are the latest companies expecting an impact to their bottom lines.

   Many companies face the prospect of crimped financial results with their 
stocks already trading at high levels relative to their earnings. Before the 
virus worries exploded, investors had been pushing stocks higher on 
expectations that strong profit growth was set to resume for companies after 
declining for most of 2019. If profit growth doesn't ramp up this year, that 
makes a highly priced stock market even more vulnerable.

   Nearly 60 nations representing every continent, except Antarctica, have 
confirmed cases. The virus outbreak has prompted a wide range of reactions from 
nations hoping to contain its spread and economic impact.

   The Geneva auto show was cancelled as Swiss authorities banned large events 
of more than 1,000 people. Parts of Italy's northern industrial and financial 
center remain under quarantine. Japan is preparing to close schools nationwide. 
The U.S. is preparing for the virus after a case unrelated to travel was 
confirmed in California. 


(CZ)

 
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