Stocks plunge again in roller-coaster week for Wall Street

US stocks plunged again Thursday as coronavirus fears once again gripped global markets, continuing a roller-coaster week on Wall Street.

The Dow Jones industrial average sank as much as 787.74 points, or 2.9 percent, in early trading after the virus forced California into a state of emergency and an industry group warned the outbreak could hammer airline revenues. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite tumbled as much as 2.7 and 2.5 percent, respectively, after the opening bell.

The weak opening continued a turbulent week that has seen the market oscillate between huge gains and losses. The Dow surged nearly 1,200 points Wednesday after Joe Biden scored several Democratic presidential primary victories and Congress struck a deal for $8 billion in funding to battle the coronavirus.

But the outbreak has put increased pressure on the air travel industry as the number of cases climbs in the US and other countries. Two more coronavirus cases were reported in New York City Thursday morning, a day after California declared a state of emergency following its first death from the disease.

The disruption in travel and trade is intensifying and global equities will likely struggle to keep the fiscal and monetary stimulus rally going as sentiment continues to crumble,” Ed Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA, wrote in a Thursday commentary.

Airline stocks have taken a beating since the start of the epidemic, which has led to international travel restrictions and depressed demand for flights. But things could get worse — the International Air Travel Association warned that the global passenger airline business could lose $113 billion in revenues this year if the virus spreads further.

Southwest Airlines shares opened 2.2 percent lower Thursday after the company warned its revenues could take a hit as large as $300 million in the first quarter. Delta shares were recently down 5.2 percent in early trading, while United stock was off 7.2 percent and American shares had tumbled 7.7 percent.

Wall Street started the week on a high note with the Dow setting an all-time daily point gain record on hopes that central banks would take action to blunt the economic impact of the coronavirus. But the blue-chip index dropped 786 points Tuesday after the Federal Reserve failed to quell investors’ fears with an emergency interest rate cut.

With Post wires

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