Stocks fall as fears about deadly virus grow; Dow drops 125
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks fell in midday trading Friday over increased fears that a deadly virus could continue spreading globally.
A Chicago woman has become the second U.S. patient diagnosed with the new virus from China, health officials said. Health authorities worldwide have been taking measures to contain and monitor the coronavirus outbreak.
United Airlines fell 4.3% and American Airlines slipped 5.1%. Several other companies in the travel and tourism industries are also falling over increased fears about the virus' spread. Cruise line operator Carnival fell 3.8%.
Health care companies broadly slipped. Surgical robot maker Intuitive Surgical shed 3.9%.
Financial stocks also fared poorly. Discover Financial plunged 9.3%.
Oil prices slid and dragged down energy stocks. Concho Resources fell 2.8%.
Safe-play stocks, including utilities and real estate companies, held up well. Bond yields fell to 1.69% from 1.74% late Thursday.
A blowout earnings report from chipmaker Intel propelled technology shares higher. That sector got an additional push from Broadcom, which landed a deal to supply wireless components to Apple.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index fell 0.6% as of 12:10 p.m. Eastern time. he Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 125 points, or 0.4%, to 29,034. The Nasdaq fell 0.5%. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks fell 0.9%.
OVERSEAS: European markets made solid gains, helped by a report that showed improvement in manufacturing activity. Germany’s DAX jumped 1.4% and the CAC 40 in France rose 0.9%
Markets were closed in Shanghai and the rest of mainland China, South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan. Japan’s Nikkei and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged higher.
VIRUS STATUS: The coronavirus has been confirmed in eight countries, including China, the U.S., South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan and Vietnam. The number of confirmed cases has risen to 850 and at least 25 people have died. The Centers for Disease Control said over 2,000 returning travelers had been screened at U.S. airports and 63 patients in 22 states were being tested.
The virus can cause pneumonia and other severe respiratory symptoms. The World Health Organization has so far held off on declaring the situation a global emergency, which would bring more money and resources to fight it, but could trigger economically damaging restrictions on trade and travel.
GOOD CHIP : Intel surged 9.1% after the chipmaker blew past Wall Street’s fourth-quarter profit forecasts. The company cited demand for cloud-computing as the key reason for the solid financial results.
The company gave investors an upbeat forecast for the first quarter, which helped inject some confidence into the broader market for chips.
BITING INTO APPLE: Broadcom rose 1.8% after signing supply deals with Apple that could bring in up to $15 billion in revenue. The chipmaker said it will supply wireless components to the iPhone maker.