Stocks – S&P Hurt by Wave of Selling as Virus Spreads

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By Yasin Ebrahim – The S&P ended the week deep in the red as new cases of the coronavirus beyond China’s borders stoked contagion fears prompting traders to rein in their bullish bets on stocks.

The lost 0.9%, while the fell 0.9% and the slumped 0.6%.

Signs that virus is spreading took a toll on investor sentiment, with France reporting its maiden case of the outbreak and a second case identified in the U.S.

Confirmed cases of the flu-like virus have reached 900 so far, and are likely to increase further, intensifying fears that areas of the market sensitive to a decline in tourism and air travel are in for rocky ride.

American Airlines (NASDAQ:) and United Airlines (NASDAQ:) closed sharply lower, while Delta Air Lines (NYSE:) slipped 2.4%.

Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:) and Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:) fell 3% and 2% respectively.

Following the turn in sentiment, financials come under pressure as investors snapped up Treasuries, pushing yields sharply lower.

JPMorgan (NYSE:), Citigroup (NYSE:) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:) closed more than 1% lower as a slump in bond yields tends to keep a lid on net interest margin.

Energy stocks, meanwhile, were pressured by an ongoing rout in oil prices amid fears that further outbreaks of the virus may halt air travel and lessen demand for jet fuel.

Against the sea of red, however, Intel (NASDAQ:) pared some gains, ending 8% higher, buoyed by bullish quarterly results.

American Express (NYSE:) also reported results that beat on both the top and bottom lines, sending its shares about 3% higher.

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