Wall Street slips as New York toughens up on coronavirus spread
By Medha Singh and Sanjana Shivdas (Reuters) - Wall Street erased early gains to fall 1% on Friday, as the state of New York ordered all non-essential workers to stay home to curtail the spread of the coronavirus pandemic that has fueled the worst monthly rout in U.S. equities in three decades.
By Medha Singh and Sanjana Shivdas
(Reuters) - Wall Street erased early gains to fall 1% on Friday, as the state of New York ordered all non-essential workers to stay home to curtail the spread of the coronavirus pandemic that has fueled the worst monthly rout in U.S. equities in three decades.
California had earlier asked 40 million people to stay indoors as the U.S. death toll from the outbreak topped 200 people.
New York state also pleaded for more medical personnel and supplies to treat the virus cases that could overwhelm hospitals.
The Dow Jones and Nasdaq had eked out gains in early trading as global policymakers turned on all the taps to prop up financial markets after four weeks of steep declines ended a record 11-year bull run for Wall Street.
The airlines sector rose 2% after losing more than half its value since late February.
Investors are now counting on further easing in the next few days, as the Senate mulls a $1 trillion package that would include direct financial help for Americans.
"I don't think we're out of the woods by any stretch," said Lamar Villere, portfolio manager at Villere Balanced Fund.
"Most people haven't been tested yet for coronavirus so the size of the spread is not known or understood. As that number goes up there's the potential for more investor caution."
Fears over the severity of the outbreak have wiped off nearly 30%, or more than $8 trillion, from the value of the benchmark S&P index since its record closing high on Feb. 19.
Markets also face "quadruple witching" on Friday, where investors unwind positions in futures and options contracts before their expiration.
A Reuters poll of economists suggested the global economy was already in recession, while analysts at U.S. stock market index operator S&P Global said volatility in financial markets across geographies and asset classes was at record highs.
AT&T Inc tumbled 6.4% as the wireless carrier warned the outbreak might have a material impact on financial results and canceled a $4 billion share repurchase agreement.
At 12:22 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 237.65 points, or 1.18%, at 19,849.54, the S&P 500 was down 41.80 points, or 1.73%, at 2,367.59. The Nasdaq Composite was down 76.97 points, or 1.08%, at 7,073.61.
Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were trading lower, with communications and utilities stocks leading the declines.
The energy sector still rose 0.2%, rebounding from its lowest levels in nearly two decades, even as oil prices weakened. [O/R]
Advancing issues almost matched decliners 1-to-1 on the NYSE and the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded no new 52-week high and 40 new lows, while the Nasdaq logged three new highs and 95 new lows.
(Additional reporting by Sinead Carew in New York and Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, Sriraj Kalluvila and Shounak Dasgupta)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.