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Stocks - Dow Plunges 1,190 Points in Brutal Virus Selling

By Yasin Ebrahim


Investing.com - Stocks plunged in late selling Thursday as fears of a global pandemic intensified.

The S&P is on pace for its worst weekly loss since the Financial Crisis as investors feared a jump in coronavirus infections in the U.S. could derail economic growth. The S&P 500 closed down. 4.4%,

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down nearly 1,200 points, or 4.4% and Nasdaq Composite slumped 4.6%.

As the coronavirus epidemic widens globally, with new infections reported in Europe, U.S. and the Middle East, investor sentiment on stocks continues to sour, triggering a wave of selling on Wall Street.

In the U.S., California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state is monitoring at least 8,400 people for Covid-19, with 28 people confirmed to have contracted the virus.

Just a day earlier, the CDC confirmed the first infection to a patient in California who did not have “relevant travel history or exposure to another known patient,” stoking fears health authorities would struggle to contain the outbreak. In Italy, the cases continue to mount, surging to 650 from 520 cases reporting this morning.

With travel and tourism expected to be among the worst hit by the outbreak, traders upped bearish bets on jet fuel demand, and by extension, oil prices, keeping energy stocks firmly on the back foot.

Tech also played an influential role in the broader sell-off, paced by chip stocks, which fell 4.6% on the day.

Mega-cap FANG stocks also extended losses, with Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) unable to hold onto a bid earlier in the day despite expectations that prolonged periods of self- quarantine among the infected could boost user activity on the streaming platform.

Facebook, meanwhile, (NASDAQ:FB) canceled its annual F8 software developer conference, citing concerns about the outbreak.

A flight to safety, pushed Treasury yields to record lows and put banking stocks in the eye of the storm.

JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) fell sharply as the 10-Year Treasury yield ended the day just above record intraday lows of 1.24%.

Falling bond yields tends to stifle net interest margin – the difference between the interest income generated by banks and the amount of interest paid out to their lenders.

But it wasn't all gloom as Etsy and Square (NYSE:SQ) rallied on better-than-expected earnings.

Etsy (NASDAQ:ETSY) popped 14% higher following a beat on both the top and bottom lines. While Square (NYSE:SQ) pared gains to end 3% higher after it topped quarterly earnings estimates underpinned by a rise in its users.

But it wasn't all gloom as Etsy and Square (NYSE:SQ) rallied on better-than-expected earnings.

Etsy (NASDAQ:ETSY) popped 14% higher following a beat on both the top and bottom lines. While Square (NYSE:SQ) pared gains to end 3% higher after it topped quarterly earnings estimates underpinned by a rise in its users.

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