Nation & World

Stocks fall as coronavirus fears grow

A second U.S. patient diagnosed

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange earlier this month. (Associated Press)
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange earlier this month. (Associated Press)

Stocks closed Friday with broad losses as increased fears that an outbreak of a deadly virus could spread more widely rattles markets.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 had its worst day since early October as health care stocks incurred steep losses. The sell-off followed news that a Chicago woman has become the second U.S. patient diagnosed with the new virus from China.

The S&P’s 500 index fell 0.9 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 170 points, or 0.6 percent, to 28,989.

The Nasdaq lost 0.9 percent.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.69 percent from 1.74 percent Thursday.

“It really is a reaction to the widening nature of what’s going on with the coronavirus,” said Lisa Erickson, head of traditional investments at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. “People are concerned about, ultimately, the impact on Chinese growth and perhaps global growth.”

Drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb led the slide in health care stocks, shedding 4.2 percent. Health insurers also fell. UnitedHealth Group dropped 2.2 percent and Amgen lost 3.4 percent.

Banks and other financial sector companies also took heavy losses, with credit card issuers among the biggest decliners.

Discover Financial Services tumbled 10.1 percent and Synchrony Financial slumped 9.8 percent.

Airlines and several other companies in the travel and tourism industries fared poorly amid worries about the potential economic impact of the virus. United Airlines fell 5 percent and American Airlines dropped 5.6 percent.

Cruise line operator Carnival fell 4.4 percent.

The price of U.S. crude oil fell 2.9 percent, dragging down energy stocks.

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There was good news: Intel surged 7.7 percent after the chipmaker blew past Wall Street’s fourth-quarter profit forecasts. The company cited demand for cloud-computing as the key reason for the solid financial results.

Broadcom rose 0.4 percent after signing supply deals with Apple that could bring in up to $15 billion in revenue.

The chipmaker said it will supply wireless components to the iPhone maker.

And American Express rose 1.9 percent after the credit card issuer and global payments company beat Wall Street’s fourth-quarter profit forecasts.

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