Wall Street falls as virus outbreak, data raises growth concerns

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Wall Street’s major averages tumbled more than 1% on Friday as the spreading coronavirus outbreak along with sluggish U.S. economic data and a mixed batch of corporate earnings fueled concerns about global growth.

The S&P 500 .SPX is down nearly 3% from its closing high hit earlier in January, as businesses struggle with supply problems from the coronavirus epidemic that has killed 213 people in China and been declared a global emergency.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it had issued a quarantine order for all repatriated individuals from China in California.

Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N) lost 2.38% and American Airlines Group Inc (AAL.O) fell 3.50% after the companies said they would suspend all flights to mainland China.

Economists fear the coronavirus could have a bigger impact than Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed about 800 people between 2002 and 2003 at an estimated cost of $33 billion to the global economy, since China’s share of the world economy is now far greater.

Adding to the growth concerns was U.S. data showing consumer spending rose steadily in December, but wage gains indicated moderate growth in consumption and business investment contracted, putting the economy on a slower pace this year. Additionally, a report on manufacturing in the Midwest hit a four-year low for January.

“We wouldn’t think this would be terribly prolonged but certainly it matters today and the data outside of Amazon has been certainly on the soft side,” said Scott Ladner, chief investment officer at Horizon Investments in Charlotte.

“So we don’t have the buttress of super strong data to kind of turn the narrative away from the obvious uncertainty that is out there with this virus,”

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Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) was a bright spot, surging 8.39% on better-than-expected results for the holiday-quarter that pushed it back into the $1 trillion market capitalization club.

Gains in Amazon helped the consumer discretionary index .SPLRCD rise 1.39%, the only sector on the plus side. Energy .SPNY was by far the worst performer, tumbling 3.25%.

Oil majors Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) and Chevron Corp (CVX.N) were the primary drags on the sector as each dropped more than 4% after disappointing results.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 525.63 points, or 1.82%, to 28,333.81, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 48.35 points, or 1.47%, to 3,235.31 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 110.89 points, or 1.19%, to 9,188.05.

Both the Dow and S&P 500 were on pace for their worst weekly performance since early August.

Visa Inc (V.N) fell 3.70% after its quarterly revenue missed estimates and the payments network warned of incentives hitting 2020 results.

International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N) gained 4.74% after it named a new chief executive officer.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 3.22-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.44-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 33 new 52-week highs and 12 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 48 new highs and 107 new lows.



Source: Reuters

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