Dow Opens Down 500 Points As Coronavirus Fears Rattle Global Markets
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was pushed down by around 530 points at Monday’s opening bell because of mounting fear over the spread of coronavirus, according to NBC News.
As officials confirmed five cases of the deadly virus in the U.S. and the total number of fatalities in China, where the epidemic originates, increased to 81 over the weekend, the S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq were down by 2 percent.
Airlines, hotels, and other travel-related stocks have been affected the most, as China locked down more cities, closed down businesses, encouraged employees to work from home, and implemented severe transport restrictions to help prevent the spread of the virus. Shares in Delta and American Airlines were down by around 3 percent each, while Wynn Resorts fell 5.8 percent.
Companies that have the greatest exposure to China, such as Apple, Alphabet, and Nike, were also affected by the viral outbreak, falling by nearly 2 percent.
China’s National Health Commission said there were 2,744 confirmed cases, of which 461 are considered severe. Officials are additionally investigating 5,794 suspected cases and tracking over 32,000 close contacts with infected patients.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said the country was facing a “grave situation,” and has reportedly allocated nearly $9 billion to help contain the virus.
While economists have yet to estimate the total damage that could be caused by coronavirus, some are looking to the SARS virus, the acute respiratory illness that wiped $40 billion off the global market in 2003.