Dow falls more than 300 points and Nasdaq suddenly skids 1.6% lower at Thursday’s lows

U.S. stock-market gauges late-morning Thursday skidded sharply lower, briefly driving the indexes to an intraday nadir, with no apparent cause prompting the move. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.91% was down 331 points, or 1.1%, the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.95% retreated 1.1%, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -1.45%, a benchmark known for a heavy proportion of technology-related components, was off 1.4% and had been down as much as 1.7%. The moves come as investors continue to weigh the implications of the outbreak of coronavirus, that has sickened more than 75,000 in China and other parts of the world. The outbreak of COVID-19, the infectious disease that reportedly originated in Wuhan, has hampered China’s economy, compelling the world’s second-largest economy to attempt to limit damage from the viral outbreak by lowering both short- and long-term lending rates this week. Meanwhile, the 10-year Treasury note yield TMUBMUSD10Y, -3.26% fell to 1.51%, reflecting a shift toward assets perceived as havens like government bonds and gold GCJ20, +0.75%. April gold was trading at around its highest level since 2013 at $1,625.30 an ounce on Comex. On top of that, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida on CNBC Thursday morning signaled that the central bank may not be inclined to cut interest rates much further after doing so three times in succession last year to the current 1.50%-1.75%. The market has been betting that at least one more rate cut would occur in the next 12 months.

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