Global markets sink as concerns over spread of deadly virus mount
Worries over the rapid spread of the deadly coronavirus, which has infected almost 3,000 people and killed more than 80, have rocked financial markets around the world on Monday.
US stocks tumbled on Monday from the opening bell on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunging over 400 points. The S&P 500 slid 1.5 percent while the Nasdaq-100 futures falling 2.1 percent.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped 2.2 percent in its trading session and is headed for its worst decline since October. UK’s FTSE, Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC are down more than two percent.
While most stock markets in Asia were closed for the Chinese Lunar New Year, bourses that traded on Monday were in the red. Japan’s Nikkei dropped by more than two percent and India’s Mumbai Sensex finished trading over one percent lower.
China’s yuan tumbled more than half a percentage point to hit a three-week low. The Australian dollar, which is heavily exposed to the performance of China’s economy, dropped 0.5 percent to its lowest since December 2. The New Zealand dollar also lost 0.5 percent. The Japanese yen, which is frequently viewed as a safe haven, rose to as high as ¥108.73 per dollar, before giving up most of the day’s gains.
“Putting the human tragedy aside, from a cold markets perspective the coronavirus might serve the purpose of taking some of the heat out of a market that has been rising rapidly for months,” said Jasper Lawler, head of research at London Capital Group, in a note to clients seen by the MarketWatch.
As of Monday, the death toll from the coronavirus had risen to 81 and the number of those infected neared 3,000 confirmed cases.
China announced an extension of its Lunar New Year holiday through February 2 to help battle the spread of the disease. Beijing also suspended sales of package tours, hitting firms around the world that rely on Chinese tourist spending.
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