How major United States stock indexes fared Wednesday

Darnell Taylor
January 24, 2020

Dragging the Dow lower, insurer Travelers Cos Inc fell 4.5% following results.

Materials was also lower despite higher gold prices as First Quantum Minerals Ltd. dropped 4.4 per cent.

A deadly new virus that emerged in China is raising concerns beyond the public health sphere as experts warn about the potential economic cost of a global outbreak that is already drawing comparisons to the deadly SARS epidemic 17 years ago.

Stock markets around the world fell Thursday as health authorities rushed to monitor and contain the outbreak, and keep it from spreading globally.

"Today was driven a bit by earnings but also by the coronavirus fears", said J.J. Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade. "Asian markets had a really tough night and that was our lead-in, that put a bit of extra pressure on the market coming in".

The S&P 500 edged 0.26% lower to 3,313.19 and the Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.14% to 9,371.02.

The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index gained 0.8%.

At 10.12am local time, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.29 per cent to 29,280.61.

China's Shanghai Composite fell almost 3 per cent on Thursday - recording its worst single-day percentage drop since May when US President Donald Trump threatened new tariffs on China - prompting stocks worldwide to drop. The index, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, previously hit a record high Friday.

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Japan's Nikkei 225 index skidded 1% to 23,795.44, while the Kospi in South Korea sank 0.9% to 2,246.13.

Major U.S. stock indexes closed essentially flat Wednesday after an early rebound rally faded in the final minutes of trading.

The Russell 2000 is up 16.54 points, or 1%. He noted USA companies with exposure to China "could potentially be negatively impacted from lower demand as nervous consumers stay home should the virus continue to spread".

At least 17 people have died and more than 500 have been infected by the ailment called novel coronavirus, whose early cases are linked to a market in Wuhan in central China.

A World Health Organization committee decided Thursday against declaring the outbreak a global emergency for now.

The S&P 500 is down 7.87 points, or 0.2%. Its stock climbed 5.4 percent and helped lift other airlines. Southwest Airlines gained 3.6% and Alaska Air Group rose 2.4%.

Real estate and utilities companies also notched gains as traders shifted money into the safe-play sectors. Healthcare .SPXHC was the biggest percentage loser, while industrials .SPLRCI enjoyed the largest gain. Travelers Cos. slid 5.1 percent, while financial services firm Raymond James dropped 6.2 percent after falling short of profit forecasts. "However, once a better understanding of the magnitude of the spread and severity was understood, stock prices recovered quite sharply in all three cases within months", he said. Pioneer Natural Resources dropped 2.9%.

Apparel maker VF Corp slumped about 8%, after cutting its full-year earnings forecasts on weak demand for its Timberland brand.

Benchmark crude oil fell $1.15 to $55.59 a barrel. Brent crude, the global standard, dropped $1.17 to $62.04.

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