U.S. stocks fell on Thursday, led down by big cap technology firms including Apple, after reports of new coronavirus cases in China and other countries intensified fears over its spread and impact on the global economy.
Investors were unnerved by a quick, sharp drop in indexes in late morning trade, with some traders attributing the move to a Global Times report that a central Beijing hospital had reported 36 new cases. This raised worries about a potential explosion of infections in the capital.
Investors were already skittish after Japan reported two new deaths and South Korea reported a rise in new infections. “The overlying question is the uncertainty over the coronavirus and whether it’s going to spread further and impact global economic activity before things stabilize and ultimately get better,” said Michael Sheldon, executive director and CIO at RDM Financial Group at Hightower in Westport, Connecticut.
Tech stocks declined 1.1%. Microsoft Corp , Apple Inc, and Amazon.com Inc dropped about 1% each and weighed the most on the benchmark index. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 161.99 points, or 0.55%, to 29,186.04, the S&P 500 lost 17.31 points, or 0.51%, to 3,368.84 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 81.81 points, or 0.83%, to 9,735.37.
MacDailyNews Take: As we all know, the markets hate uncertainty. The good news is that, someday, hopefully very soon, this outbreak will be in the rearview mirror.