Wall Street tumbles as US virus cases climb

29 Mars, 2020, 01:39 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • S&P 500 set to dip after bumper session as virus threat rages on

Investors have been dumping riskier assets such as stocks amid uncertainty over the economic blow from the coronavirus.

At 05:30 a.m. EDT, Dow e-minis were down 443 points, or 1.99 per cent, S&P 500 e-minis were down 51.5 points, or 1.97 per cent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 161 points, or 2.05 per cent.

On Friday, the S&P 500 fell 3.4 percent, erasing some of the rally from the previous three days.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 4.1 per cent, or 915 points, to 21,636.78. The S&P 500 dropped 3.4%, and the Nasdaq Composite declined 3.8%.

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Stocks soared on Wall Street for most of this week, fueled by multiple economic measures internationally to guard against fallout from the coronavirus crisis and Congress' huge relief bill, which passed the House Friday and was sent to President Donald Trump for his signature. The Labor Department reported that jobless benefit claims had soared to 3.28 million last week, easily eclipsing the previous record of 695,000. The outbreak has forced widespread shutdowns that has ground much of the US economy to a halt.

"The one-two punch is important", said Mike Wilson, chief USA equity strategist and chief investment officer for Morgan Stanley.

"This is going to be an economic fallout".

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Despite the week's gains for stocks, there were signs that investors remain cautious. It gained 70.5 percent, yet is still down 41 percent in March.

The S&P 500 was down 3.3% at midday, but is still up just above 10% for the week. It measures the daily stock price movements of 30 large, publicly-owned USA companies.

The US equity market finished higher for third straight day on Thursday, 26 March 2020, on the back of better than expected U.

"I think this will continue for some time", said Nancy Tengler, chief investment officer at Laffer Tengler Investments.

The United States has surpassed China and Italy as the country with the most coronavirus cases. The number of cases in the U.S. Hospitals in the NY metro area and Seattle have been overwhelmed despite stringent measures to curtail the contagion. "Once we peak, then the markets will reassess".

Investors and business leaders remain concerned that emergency measures by the Federal Reserve and US lawmakers, including the stimulus package, may not prevent a sharp USA recession that could have global consequences.

"You can't really stimulate an economy during a shutdown", she said. "It's a volatile environment where we will, within that context, see repeated bold policy responses, but they are pushing on an open door". The price for Brent crude was down to just below $28 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude was trading around $21.50 per barrel. The meeting of G-20 leaders also disappointed some traders after it failed to produce any statement that related to oil or the price war raging between Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation.

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