Tech Leads Stock Slide on Virus Fears; Gold Gains: Markets Wrap
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S. (Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

Tech Leads Stock Slide on Virus Fears; Gold Gains: Markets Wrap

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. equities slumped on concern that the coronavirus that originated in China will take a heavy toll on corporate earnings. The dollar jumped and gold climbed to a seven-year high as investors sought havens.

Microsoft Corp., Apple Inc. and other big tech names led losses after Japan reported two deaths and South Korea confirmed its first fatality from the disease amid a report the illness was spreading in Beijing. ViacomCBS Inc. tumbled after sales missed estimates, while Morgan Stanley dropped after agreeing to buy E*Trade Financial Corp. for $13 billion. The S&P 500 Index pared the worst of its decline in the afternoon amid gains for automakers and real-estate companies.

The yen extended its fall toward 112 per dollar amid disappointing economic news and early positioning before the fiscal year-end next month. Treasuries rallied.

Tech Leads Stock Slide on Virus Fears; Gold Gains: Markets Wrap

Sentiment turned negative Thursday, a day after equities reached record highs, as the infection that originated in China continues to expand beyond the mainland. Earnings misses are adding to the gloom, alongside fresh warnings on the pathogen’s impact from A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, the world’s largest container shipping firm, and Air France-KLM. Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s chief equity strategist said a near-term correction for the stock market is looking more probable.

Tech Leads Stock Slide on Virus Fears; Gold Gains: Markets Wrap

“It could be some larger players hedging against downside risk of the coronavirus spreading,” said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at Independent Advisor Alliance. “That, on top of the Goldman call that a correction is more likely, has people on edge.”

Elsewhere, subpar results from AXA SA and Telefonica SA weighed on European equity gauges. Asia stocks traded mixed. Oil gained in New York.

Here are some key events coming up:

  • Earnings season rolls on, with results from Deere & Co. set for Friday.
  • Euro-area PMI and inflation data are also due Friday.
  • Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank chiefs are due to meet Feb. 22-23 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and are expected to discuss efforts to support growth amid the coronavirus threat.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • The S&P 500 Index fell 0.4% at the close of trading in New York.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.9%.
  • The MSCI Asia Pacific Index sank 0.7%.

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index jumped 0.5%.
  • The euro slipped 0.2% to $1.0787.
  • The Japanese yen weakened 0.6% to 112.08 per dollar.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries sank five basis points to 1.52%.
  • Germany’s 10-year yield declined three basis points to -0.45%.
  • Britain’s 10-year yield dipped two basis points to 0.57%.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude gained 0.9% to $53.78 a barrel.
  • Gold strengthened 0.5% to $1,619.80 an ounce.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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