Wall Street lost ground on Thursday, backing away from record highs as investors digested new coronavirus developments and mixed corporate earnings. Technology shares led all three major US stock averages lower, with the blue-chip Dow suffering the largest percentage loss.

Hopes that the coronavirus epidemic could be on the wane were soured by a spike in fatalities, with an additional 242 bringing China’s coronavirus death toll to 1367. Additionally, thousands more were diagnosed due to a new testing methodology. Still, there were glimmers of optimism as the director of the World Health Organisation told a news briefing that ‘we are not seeing dramatic increases in cases outside China.’ Still, the late session sell-off was relatively muted.

Indeed, in his economic report to Congress earlier this week, US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank was assessing the risk of the coronavirus and other potential threats, indicating any change to its accommodative policy was unlikely this year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 128.11 points, or 0.43 per cent, to 29,423.31, the S&P 500 lost 5.51 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 3373.94 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 13.99 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 9,711.97.


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