US STOCKS-Wall Street tumbles as virus outbreak raises growth fears

(Reuters) – Wall Street’s main averages tumbled more than 1% on Friday as mixed corporate earnings added to worries over the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on global growth.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 21, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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

Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N) and American Airlines Group Inc (AAL.O) fell about 2% after companies said they would suspend all U.S.-China flights.

“There is more potential for markets to get affected by the coronavirus than SARS in 2003,” said Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal Global Investors.

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

“Asset prices are a lot more over-valued coming into 2020, which means they are already very vulnerable to global sentiment,” Shah said.

Stocks were also pressured by data that showed the U.S. Midwest manufacturing activity index slid to a four-year low in January, with new orders and production tumbling and producers forecasting tepid activity in 2020. Inc (AMZN.O) was a bright spot, surging 8.8% 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 1.5%, while all other S&P sectors were in the red, with energy stocks .SPNY tumbling 3.2%.

Oil majors Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) and Chevron Corp (CVX.N) dropped about 4% after disappointing results.

Sectors sensitive to global growth such as materials, technology, industrial and financials fell about 2% each.

At 1:02 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 480.74 points, or 1.67%, at 28,378.70.

The S&P 500 .SPX dropped 47.27 points, or 1.44%, at 3,236.39 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 105.09 points, or 1.13%, at 9,193.85.

Visa Inc (V.N) fell 3.4% after its quarterly revenue missed estimates and the payments network warned of incentives hitting 2020 results.

International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N) gained 4.5% after it named a new chief executive officer.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 3.24-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 3.69-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 33 new 52-week highs and 12 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 45 new highs and 99 new lows.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Amy Caren Daniel

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