U.S. stocks fell
in early trading Thursday over heightened fears that the global economy
could take a hit as the number of confirmed cases and the death toll
from a virus in China spiked.
health officials expressed “great concern” that the new type of
coronavirus is starting to spread between people outside of China, which
is essentially on lockdown.
Communications and health care companies led the losses. Facebook fell 6.6% and Anthem fell 1.8%.
Industrial companies also fell broadly. UPS skidded 5.9% after the package delivery company gave investors a disappointing profit forecast.
companies also fell, though solid earnings from Microsoft, ServiceNow
and Lam Research helped the sector reach modest gains.
about the spread of the coronavirus and its impact overshadowed mostly
positive corporate earnings reports. There are currently more than 7,800
confirmed cases, mostly in central China, and 170 deaths, mostly in
are increasingly issuing warnings over the potential impact to profits
and revenue. Align Technology, which makes tooth-straightening systems,
gave investors a weak profit forecast because of the virus. Starbucks
has already held back on raising its forecast for the year and airlines
are starting to curtail flights to Chinese cities because of weak
SCORE: The S&P 500 index fell 0.4% as of 10:30 a.m. Eastern time.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 48 points, or 0.2%, to 28,696. The
Nasdaq fell 0.2%. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks fell
Markets in Europe and Asia fell. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was hit
particularly hard, shedding 2.6%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped 1.7%.
Markets in mainland China are still closed for Lunar New Year holiday.
COMPUTING: Microsoft rose 2.5% after the software maker handily beat
Wall Street’s fiscal second-quarter profit forecasts on its growing
cloud computing business. The company said that revenue from its Azure
cloud computing business grew 62% percent. The company is trying to
catch up to the leading cloud provider, Amazon, and received a big boost
in October from a $10 billion U.S. Department of Defense contract.
CHARGE: Tesla surged 11% after the electric vehicle maker blew past
Wall Street’s fourth-quarter earnings forecasts on record sales. The
company also told investors that it is ramping up production of the
Model Y small SUV, which is a key product because consumers are buying
smaller utility vehicles.
IN SMOKE: Altria slid 5.8% after the maker of Marlboro cigarettes
reported a hefty costs because of its investment in e-cigarette maker
Juul. Altria took a 35% stake in Juul at the end of 2018 and that
company has since faced a surge in federal and state investigations into
its marketing amid an explosion of underage vaping teenagers.